Before 2008 it seemed inconceivable that a respected financial institution such as Merrill Lynch, "America's firm," could crash, or that the solid Bank of America could teeter on the brink and have to be rescued by a federal bailout. But as Financial Times correspondent Greg Farrell discovered and details in his book, "Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch and the Near- Collapse of Bank of America," when the dots were connected and the backstory filled in, mistakes, on a gargantuan scale, were made. Farrell talks about his book, his research and the aftermath of the financial crisis, at New Canaan Library on Jan. 9.The history of the two firms' near death experiences is complicated and involves a supersized cast. But Forbes.com columnist Steve Schaefer said Farrell "tells a story based on hundreds of hours of interviews that builds like a hurricane." And the Charlotte Observer described the book as "full of 'insider' information, much of it juicy, if not shocking. At the end of the day, the portrait Farrell paints cannot easily be brushed away."In 2009, Farrell, already mining the story, broke the news that Merrill Lynch had distributed its 2008 bonuses early, in spite of racking up losses of $28 billion for the year. His scoop and the extra $20 million in taxpayer funds that had to be ponied up so Bank of America could buy Merrill Lynch helped jumpstart then New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's investigation. Farrell's work on the book is a story within a story and his talk at the New Canaan Library, which begins at 5 p.m., is free. Registration is required and can be made at the Library's website .
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