The Trouble Is the Banks: Letters to Wall Street

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While Occupy protests were taking place across the nation in Fall of 2011, a lone website, “Occupy the Boardroom,” invited Americans who would never make it to an occupation to write down their beliefs about the financial system and their experiences with loans and banking. 8,000 letters from individuals appeared in six weeks. Signed by those affected by recent history—Democrats and Republicans, property-owners and struggling families, businesspeople and retirees, immigrants and Mayflower descendants, religious leaders and fervent capitalists, and a lot of bank employees past and present—these letters said what Americans have gotten from our banks, what they believe, and how they think things should change.

The letters are polite, funny, outraged, moving, instructive, and inspiring. They are one of the most immediate and unfiltered records ever assembled of what went on in the housing bubble and the financial crisis—written by We the People.

In partnership with Occupy the Boardroom, a team of young editors read through and gathered the most important, compelling, and diverse of these letters. Hear, at last, what American citizens know about their country rather than the opinions of talking heads. Find out what Americans want all of us to do differently.

The Trouble Is the Banks is also available for $8 when paired with a one-year print or digital subscription to n+1

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Please consider adding a donation. Your generosity will help us cover the initial run and send copies of the book to each of the bank executives addressed in the letters—and to the desks of our elected officials in Washington. For donations over $10, please feel free to include the address of someone—whether politician or family member—to whom you would like a complimentary copy of the book sent.

All profits will be donated to campaigns for banking reform, campaign finance reform, or to charities directly helping those whose letters appear in this book.

Donations beyond the price of the book are fully tax-deductible. We will mail a receipt for your records.

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"It's a fantastic book, and well worth reading, mostly because it shows the potential power of Occupy's new approach . . . Most upper-level bank executives have learned, by now, to tune out yelling and sign-waving protesters outside their windows. . . But a polite, eloquent letter personally addressed to them and sent to their office? That's much harder to ignore. It's not impossible to imagine a copy of this book slipping past an administrative assistant onto a CEO's desk, being leafed through during a slow night at the office, and sparking a few minutes' worth of serious self-reflection."

—Daily Intel / New York Magazine

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Also excerpted in The Best Business Writing 2013 from Columbia Journalism Review Books, now available on Amazon.

"Riveting and indispensable. It's not until you see the events of 2012 laid out in order—from hacking scandals to debt crises. . . and continuing fallout from the financial crisis—that you realize what a strange and tumultuous year we've been through." —Malcolm Gladwell

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