A Nation of Deadbeats: An Uncommon History of American Financial Disasters

Pundits will argue that the 2008 financial crisis was the first crash in American history driven by consumer debt. But William and Mary history professor Scott Nelson demonstrates in his new book that consumer debt has underpinned almost every major financial panic in the nation’s history. In each case, the chain of banks, brokers, moneylenders and insurance companies that separated borrowers and lenders made it impossible to distinguish good loans from bad. Bound up in this history are stories of national banks funded by smugglers, fistfights in Congress over the gold standard, America's early dependence on British bankers and how presidential campaigns were forged in controversies over private debt.

Presented by Friends of Williamsburg Regional Library and co-sponsored with the Earl Gregg Swem Library at the College of William and Mary in celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week.

Read a Bloomberg review of the book.

Scott Nelson


Room: Theatre