First Amendment Award for Outstanding Journalism: Best Book Bailout Nation

First Amendment Award 2009 Bailout NationMany authors, journalists, and publicists have asserted causes for the financial crisis and stock market crash of 2008. However, none have done as comprehensive a job as Barry Ritholtz in his Mount Everest view of how it all went down: Bailout Nation.

Bailout Nation avoids all the disingenuous blame-shifting onto specific political parties or individuals. Instead, the surprisingly easy-to-read overview has the balls to publish the entire laundry list of culprits and variables. If you are interested in Truth rather than fancy academic erudition or rhetorical smoke and mirrors, Bailout Nation will fill your brain with the equivalent of a nutritious gourmet meal.

I reviewed Bailout Nation back in May, calling the book “Required reading for every U.S. citizen.” Since then, Barry’s praiseworthy display of authorship has received world-class reviews such as:

“If you want to know how we got into this mess and what might still be coming, this is the book for you.” ~ The Wall Street Journal

“Mr. Ritholtz has written an important book about a complicated subject, and yet you could still read it at the beach.” ~ New York Times

We are proud to select Bailout Nation as the inaugural winner of our Best Book award. We are confident Barry gives financial authors something to aspire to for next year. Let’s just hope the subject has to do with the greatest ever economic recovery …

Damien Hoffman: Barry, when I interviewed you in early July you were awaiting some big book reviews. Since then I saw great reviews in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and New York Times. Can you share how it feels to get world-class recognition for your reporting?

Barry: Damien, it is very gratifying! I sat alone in an office and pounded out 300 pages and wondering if anyone would to appreciate it. From that perspective, the recognition was been wonderful. But, there is also a frustration to the whole process. I wrote the book for two primary reasons: one, this was an area I was studying and researching and knew very well, and two, there is an amazing amount of misinformation out there, and I wanted to set the record straight.

Mark Twain was reputed to have said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  There is, unfortunately, a lot of truth to that.Bailout Nation Stats

Damien: If you were giving this award to a fellow author, to whom would you give it and why?

Barry: I have to plead nolo contendre. Usually, I blow thru a book or three each month. However, this year I have only read three books so far — Carl Hiassen, Roger Lowenstein, and a book of short Sci-Fi stories — none of which were current.

Blame it on Bailout Nation: I spent the past year researching, writing, and editing. Also, I didn’t want to read anyone else on the same subject for obvious reasons. All thee reading I did was historical research — Bailout! about the Chrysler rescue in 1980, Black Monday about the ’87 [stock market] crash, and When Genius Failed about the implosion of Long Term Capital Management. Again, none of these are very current.

With that said, I have a huge queue of books to keep me company on planes. Ask me again in December!

Damien: For those authors aspiring to win this award next year, can you offer some advice?

Barry: This was my first book. I kinda got lucky as to the timing, and the good reception might have been a function of the timing. So, I may be the wrong guy to give any advice to aspiring writers. The only thing I can say is write what you know and focus on what interests you. Otherwise, for me, I might as well have been an unhappy 13-year old doing an unpleasant homework assignment.

Damien: That’s good advice for keeping the passion needed to write a great book. Speaking of, can we expect another book from you in the future?

Barry: The distant future! Writing this book was a sonuva-bitch. I need three years to recover …

Damien: That should give you enough time for the next interesting story to hit Wall Street. Until then, we wish you the best Barry and will keep up with your outstanding reporting at your blog The Big Picture.

Required Reading for Every US Citizen

Required Reading for Every US Citizen

Barry: Outstanding! Thank you very much for this award. I’m honored.

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Check out the other First Amendment Award winners:

First Amendment Award for Outstanding Journalism: Best Blog Zero Hedge