Edmund Andrews of the New York Times wrote a terrific, but brutal, article on his own journey through the credit crisis. It's incredible that a senior economic and business reporter for the Times would fall prey to the sham mortgages and housing bubble like everyone else, but he did. This article is one of the best examples of how widespread the mania was. Read the article because it's amazing how quickly and easily this could happen to someone.
As an aside, I'm struck by how deep the faith in "money printing" is in our country right now. It rivals the faith in the housing market back in the day. The government thinks it can spend its way out of this and we're happy to let it try. While I agree in some deficit spending as a short term emergency effort, printing money will not get us out of this recession long term. We're spending our credibility as a country and in the process, we're sacrificing one of the greatest assets a country ever has had, the reserve currency status of the dollar.