Last Updated Oct 15, 2008 4:34 PM EDT
Once you have your historical grounding, Romano recommends a few other things to read that aim to help us go beyond "Wall Street" as metaphor. He says Charles R. Morris's "The Trillion Dollar Meltdown" is "the best technical explanation of what's going on on now. Meanwhile, Charles Ellis's "The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs" is both an excellent look at the firm and, perhaps, the Wall Street that is no more. Romano says Ellis was able to avoid writing a fan letter to Goldman, despite its close cooperation with the book in the research phase.
The new anthology "Panic: the Story of Modern Financial Insanity," edited by Michael Lewis, tries to show how the complexity of the market itself is now a major scourge -- making it harder to point fingers. There may not be a Samuel Insull, or even a Long-Term Capital Management, in the current crisis.
Finally, in an effort to suggest that none of us are free from blame, Romano suggests the classic novel "Main Street," by Sinclair Lewis.
Plus, reading the review will teach you the meaning of synecdoche.
Thanks to a loyal reader for the tip on the link.