Debtor Nation

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Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink
First edition cover
Author Louis Hyman
Country United States
Language English
Genre History
Publisher Princeton University Press
Publication date
11 January 2011
Media type Print Hardcover
Pages 392 pp
ISBN ISBN 978-0-691-14068-1

Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink is the first history book written by Louis Hyman, who received his PhD from Harvard University in 2007.[1]


The book argues that, to understand the rise of our contemporary debt-driven economy, we must look back at the history of American markets and American policy in the 20th century.

The book combines the methods of economic, business, political, and social history.[2]


The book is arranged into nine chapters overall, spanning the twentieth century.

  • An Introduction to the History of Debt
  • Chapter One: Making Credit Modern: The Origins of the Debt Infrastructure in the 1920s
  • Chapter Two: Debt and Recovery: New Deal Housing Policy and the Making of National Mortgage Markets
  • Chapter Three: How Commercial Bankers Discovered Consumer Credit: The Federal Housing Administration and Personal Loan Departments, 1934–1938
  • Chapter Four: War and Credit: Government Regulation and Changing Credit Practices
  • Chapter Five: Postwar Consumer Credit: Borrowing for Prosperity
  • Chapter Six: Legitimating the Credit Infrastructure: Race, Gender, and Credit Access
  • Chapter Seven: Securing Debt in an Insecure World: Credit Cards and Capital Markets
  • Epilogue: Debt as Choice, Debt as Structure

In popular culture[edit]

Hyman's arguments in Debtor Nation inform his explanations of the financial crisis in David Sington's documentary The Flaw.[3]


  1. ^ Teitell, Beth (November 2, 2008). "Deep in Debt". The Boston Globe. 
  2. ^ "Hyman, L.: Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink". Princeton University Press. November 8, 2010. 
  3. ^ Lambert, Stephen (October 23, 2010). "The Flaw: Examining the Roots of Economic Malaise". The Huffington Post. 

External links[edit]