Gillian Tett, Financial Times:

“Johnson and Kwak shot to prominence a couple of years ago after co-authoring 13 Bankers, a searing and readable account of the financial crisis, and their latest book is equally lucid—and alarming.”

Bill Moyers

“An account every citizen should read to understand how the national deficit affects our future.”

Kevin G. Keane, San Francisco Chronicle:

“A thorough, scholarly account of how the country got into this predicament and how it can dig its way out.”

James Pressley, BloombergBusinessweek:

“Johnson and Kwak bring dispassionate insights to bear on the bedeviling question of how to fix our fiscal mess before it gets fixed for us.”

Steve Weinberg, USA Today:

“The takeaway message from Johnson and Kwak is this: The national debt is ultimately not an economic issue, but rather a political issue.”

Dorie Clark, Forbes:

“The national debt isn’t a sexy topic; it can seem both impossibly large and incredibly far-off in the future. But unless the political establishment makes it a priority, it’s likely to start affecting you and your business within the next few years.”

Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser:

“An excellent explication of how sheer ignorance of history (not to mention economics) can lead to policy prescriptions sure to lead to disaster.”

Kirkus Reviews:

“A book to be enjoyed by ideologues and non-ideologues of all stripes because it is not a tract for Republicans, Democrats or any other partisan organization.”


“In this powerful book, Simon Johnson and James Kwak cut through both the partisanship and the complexities of the debate over America’s national debt to give us a clear understanding of why it matters and what to do about it.  America’s future depends vitally upon bringing our deficits under control while also investing in our growth, and this book tells us how to do both.”

Charles Ferguson, director of the Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job

“Simon Johnson and James Kwak have written a book that every American should read.  It gives us a rich context for understanding the problem of today’s national debt.  Full of wisdom and specific recommendations, it reminds us that only when citizens understand the seriousness of our predicament will politicians take the necessary steps to strengthen our country.  Let’s hope this book is a best seller.”

Bill Bradley, former United States Senator and co-sponsor of the Tax Reform Act of 1986

“Could there be a more important subject today than the national debt? And could there be two smarter, clearer, more incisive writers to tell us about it than Simon Johnson and James Kwak?  With precision and common sense, White House Burning tells the story of where our debt came from, what it means, and what we can do about it. This is the kind of important, informed, and accessible book a democracy can’t do without.”

Noah Feldman, Bemis Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and author of
Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Supreme Court Justices

“As they did in 13 Bankers, Johnson and Kwak imbed a crucial current policy debate in the history of the US economy.  Their blueprint for resolving the budget problem without trampling on the basic needs of average Americans is must reading.”

C. Fred Bergsten, Director, Peterson Institute for International Economics

“If you are puzzled about how our country’s finances got so messed up, look no further. Simon Johnson and James Kwak explain, with great lucidity and flair, how the battle lines on debt and taxes have been drawn going back to the founding fathers, and how things got off the rails in the last two decades. And they have good news for you: even if our politicians are incorrigible, our problems are not insoluble.”

Daron Acemoglu, Killian Professor of Economics, MIT, and co-author of
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

“A must read for anyone who wishes to understand the true nature of our fiscal problems. A fascinating and lively history of how we got into this budgetary mess and a brilliant analysis, dispassionate and balanced, of what we need to do to get out of it.”

Liaquat Ahamed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lords of Finance

“The politicians don’t care about the economics. The economists don’t understand the politics. Johnson and Kwak get both, that’s why you should read this book.”

Jim Robinson, David Florence Professor of Government, Harvard, and co-author of
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

“By skillfully placing the debt debate in an insightful historical context and providing detailed recommendations, Johnson and Kwak make a major and timely contribution to a national debate that will only get more heated in the years ahead. It’s a must read for those wondering about the relationship between the national debt and America’s challenges, the choices that we must make to restore fiscal viability, promote growth, create jobs, and reduce inequality, and the way that polarized politics torpedoes coherent discussion of these complex issues.”

Mohamed A. El-Erian, CEO of PIMCO and prize-winning author of
When Markets Collide: Investment Strategies for the Age of Global Economic Change