04/04/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Book: The Secret History Of Bear Stearn's 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.

Read more on Mar. 3, 2009