Borrow



“Stocked with colorful personalities and trenchant insights, Hyman’s lucid, entertaining, and timely treatise illuminates the murky processes by which debt became the troubled center of economic life.”

Publishers Weekly


"This is an excellent book."

Booklist

 

In this lively history of consumer debt in America, economic historian Louis Hyman demonstrates that today’s problems are not as new as we think.

 

Borrow examines how the rise of consumer borrowing—virtually unknown before the twentieth century—has altered our culture and economy. Starting in the years before the Great Depression, increased access to money raised living standards but also introduced unforeseen risks. As lending grew more and more profitable, it displaced funds available for business borrowing, setting our economy on an unsustainable course. Told through the vivid stories of individuals and institutions affected by these changes, Borrow charts the collision of commerce and culture in twentieth-century America, giving an historical perspective on what is new—and what is not—in today’s economic turmoil.

 

“An evenhanded account aimed at the general reader baffled by today’s economic crisis. From Model-Ts to TVs to McMansions, Hyman uncovers the credit story behind all the glittering prizes and offers a prescription to prevent the American Dream from turning into the American Nightmare.”—Kirkus Reviews


"A fresh perspective on the epic changes in American culture wrought by consumer finance." -Roger Lowenstein, The New Republic


Read an excerpt