Title: "Debt: The First 5,000 Years"
Author: David Graeber
Publisher: Melville House Publishing, 2011; 544 pages; $24
Almost everything about debt — being in it, being owed it, paying it and incurring it — can cause people to hold their breaths and clutch their chests. Nonetheless, many Americans experience debt as a part of life.
Even the most financially responsible folks go into debt to buy homes, cars and educations — and on the arguably less responsible end of the spectrum, some use credit and debt to pay for things like furniture, vacations, clothes and such.
Even our nation itself is deeply in debt because our government lives way beyond its means. (Heard of the credit downgrade, anyone?)