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Interesting look here into the Bear Stearns boiler room.

NEW YORK (Fortune) — Years from now, when academics search for causes of the stock market crash of 2008, they will focus on the pivotal role of mortgage-backed securities. These exotic financial instruments allowed a downturn in U.S. home prices to morph into a contagion that brought down Bear Stearns a year ago this month – and more recently have brought the global banking system to its knees.

What scholars should not miss is the role that the human element – call it greed or ignorance – played in this tragedy. In an exclusive excerpt from William Cohan’s new book, “House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street,” to be published March 10 by Doubleday, the bestselling author sheds light on the bankers who thought they had mastered what Warren Buffett has called “financial weapons of mass destruction.”

By looking back to the roots of the misadventure in which Bear Stearns traders Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin lost roughly $1.6 billion while allegedly misleading investors, Cohan illustrates how the missteps of the few can have consequences for the many.