I read Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit, and the Era of Predatory Lenders by James Scurlock, and I very much enjoyed it.
A number of years ago, I was driving up on the north shore of Long Island (the Gold Coast, Gatsby Country), and thinking to myself, "How is it that so many people can afford to drive around in stupidly expensive cars? And why are the estates vanishing from here, being replaced by awful little McMansions? I couldn't figure out how it could be that there was so much discretionary income out there. While Long Island does have money, it just seemed like it was over the top.
Well, the years went by, the economy boomed some more, and then one day the housing bubble, just like the tulip bubble in 17th century Holland went south. People looked around at their $650,000 houses and realized that they were living next door to me and my 1997 Chevy van. And that maybe it really wasn't worth what their "banker" had told them, especially since they owed $700,000 on it.
Maxed Out goes through all of this, and parses out how it is that people wind up in debt, and what the forces are that cause it. Scurlock does this without blaming anyone, or screaming "GREED!!" at anyone. He does come down hard on the lack of regulation of the banking industry and how lax the lending rules have become.
If you've tried to figure out why it is that people who should be able to avoid debt don't, or why it is that credit card companies want to extend credit to people who live in a double-wide, it's a book worth reading. Unlike many financial/economic books, it's very accessible and not at all dry. It's a good intro to the larger topic of "why is our economy a mess, and is there any hope?"
Scurlock has a movie out of the same name and I think I'm going to have NetFlix get it for me.