David Dayen's 'Chain Of Title' Wins Ida And Studs Terkel Prize
Credit: The New Press
May 13, 2016

Books about ordinary people triumphing over big institutional corruption? Worth reading.

In the depths of the Great Recession, a cancer nurse, a car dealership worker, and an insurance fraud specialist helped uncover the largest consumer crime in American history—a scandal that implicated dozens of major executives on Wall Street. They called it foreclosure fraud: millions of families were kicked out of their homes based on false evidence by mortgage companies that had no legal right to foreclose.

Lisa Epstein, Michael Redman, and Lynn Szymoniak did not work in government or law enforcement. They had no history of anticorporate activism. Instead they were all foreclosure victims, and while struggling with their shame and isolation they committed a revolutionary act: closely reading their mortgage documents, discovering the deceit behind them, and building a movement to expose it.

Fiscal Times columnist David Dayen recounts how these ordinary Floridians challenged the most powerful institutions in America armed only with the truth—and for a brief moment they brought the corrupt financial industry to its knees.

And now Chain of Title has won the Ida and Studs Terkel Award.

On the occasion of his 90th birthday, May 16th, 2001, Studs and his son Dan announced the formation of the Studs and Ida Terkel Author Fund. The Fund is devoted to supporting the work of promising authors in a range of fields who share Studs’s fascination with the many dimensions of everyday life in America, and who, like Studs, are committed to exploring aspects of America that are not adequately represented by the mainstream media. The Terkel Fund furnishes authors with the vital support they need to conduct their research and writing, providing a new generation of writers the freedom to experiment and innovate, in the spirit of Studs’s own work.

Old Skool bloggers will remember 'D-Day' from his days at Hullabaloo, Calitics, Daily Kos, FDL and of course, C&L. It's great to see old friends continue to succeed, good writers keep writing well, and activism get the recognition it deserves. Congratulations, David.

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