How a Gang of Wall Street Kingpins, Hedge Fund Magnates, Crooked Banks, and Vulture Capitalists Suckered Millions Out of Their Homes and Demolished the American Dream

Aaron Glantz

Custom House (Fall 2018)

Hardcover • ISBN-13: 9780062869531 • US 27.99 • 432 pgs.


In the spirit of Evicted, Bait and Switch, and The Big Short, a shocking, heart-wrenching investigation into America’s housing crisis and the modern-day robber barons who are making a fortune off the backs of the disenfranchised working and middle class—among them, Donald Trump and his inner circle.

Two years before the housing market collapsed in 2008, Donald Trump looked forward to a crash: “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy,” he said. But our future president wasn’t alone. While millions of Americans suffered financial loss, tycoons pounced to heartlessly seize thousands of homes—their profiteering made even easier because, as prize-winning investigative reporter Aaron Glantz reveals in Homewreckers, they often used taxpayer money—and the Obama administration’s promise to cover their losses.

In Homewreckers, Glantz recounts the transformation of straightforward lending into a morass of slivered and combined mortgage “products” that could be bought and sold, accompanied by a shift in priorities and a loosening of regulations and laws that made it good business to lend money to those who wouldn’t be able to repay. Among the men who laughed their way to the bank: Trump cabinet members Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross, Trump pal and confidant Tom Barrack, and billionaire Republican cash cow Steve Schwarzman. Homewreckers also brilliantly weaves together the stories of those most ravaged by the housing crisis. The result is an eye-opening expose of the greed that decimated millions and enriched a gluttonous few.


“Can’t recommend this joint enough…Aaron Glantz does a great job moving through the jungle of jargon. But most importantly he implicitly raises a question that has been quietly dogging me for years: What does it mean to tell your children that their success is ultimately a matter of discipline, education, hard work, and citizenship, and then see that those factors have almost no power to explain the (financial) success of the Titans of America, that in fact, fortune, greed and malice really have won. Sorry state of things. These guys made billions by turning homeowners (disproportionately black) into renters. And then they went into government. This is an illuminating and discomfiting read.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates

“With prose that is as plainspoken as it is propulsive, Glantz explains how homeownership propelled the American Dream until 1986 only to fall, one financial scheme at a time, at the hands of billionaire money-grabbers and the failing regulators and gutless politicians who enable them.”

Beth Macy, author of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America

“In case there was ever any doubt that the world of high finance affects American households, Aaron Glantz lays it to rest in this gripping narrative of how the foreclosure machine became a grand mechanism to convert America’s historic wealth building asset—its homes—into a commodity for financiers.”

Sarah Bloom Raskin, former deputy secretary of the US Treasury and former governor of the Federal Reserve Board

“An eye-opening account of how a cast of characters from Wall Street to Hollywood enriched themselves at the expense of American families. Glantz weaves together personal stories, historical context, and sharp and insightful analysis of how financiers created predatory products that wreaked devastation on the US economy and… countless families.”

Mehrsa Baradaran, professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law

“Glantz, through exemplary journalism, reveals the new corporate landlords’ relationship to Donald Trump and their exploitation of loopholes in public policy, in combination with the endless resources of greedy bankers, to transform the 2008 foreclosure crisis into predatory renting schemes and cash in on widespread housing insecurity.”

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership

“In this remarkable book, Aaron Glantz provides a well-researched, highly readable look at one of the nation’s most underreported stories…a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the Great Recession and the role of the voracious financial interests who would go on to put Donald Trump in the White House.”

Gwenda Blair, author of The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a President

“This is a story that needs to be told, and Glantz tells it beautifully. Homewreckers reads like a novel, but it carries an important message: We must never let this happen again.”

Alan S. Blinder, Gordon S. Rentscher Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University, former member of the Council of Economic Advisers, Vice Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve System

“A tale of greed and corruption…A solid, useful exploration of a system that ‘needs substantial, systemic change.’”

Kirkus Reviews

“[A] cogent, infuriating exposé… lucid prose and impressive research make this an essential account of an under-the-radar housing crisis.”

Publishers Weekly


Aaron Glantz is a Peabody Award-winning investigative reporter who produces journalism with impact. His work has sparked more than a dozen Congressional hearings, the signing of new laws, and criminal probes by the DEA, FBI, Pentagon and Federal Trade Commission. Because of his reporting, 500,000 fewer U.S. military veterans face long waits for disability compensation, while 100,000 fewer veterans are prescribed highly addictive narcotics by the government. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America and the PBS NewsHour, where he has twice been nominated for a national Emmy Award.

A senior reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and a recent JSK Fellow at Stanford University, Glantz’s previous books include How America Lost, The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans, and Winter Solider: Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations, which he coauthored with Iraq Veterans Against the War.