In recent months, an economic crisis of colossal proportions has unfolded across the globe. In Britain, the financial system has come close to collapse, some of the country's largest banks have been nationalised, house prices are in freefall and the economy has moved violently into reverse. Yet only in 2007, Prime Minister Gordon Brown could be heard confidently declaring that boom and bust would never return. So what happened? BBC Economics editor Hugh Pym and Financial Times journalist Nick Kochan have written lucid, authoritative and up-to-date answers to this and all the other questions people are asking about the financial crisis. For the intelligent lay reader with no previous knowledge of economics, here at last is an indispensable, refreshingly jargon-free guide to the shocking events of the past year and to what the future may hold.