Last year, economists Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhardt published what will become (and may be already if that were possible) a classic. The book is entitled, This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. It traces the history (both recent and ancient) of a plethora of failed attempts by countries to borrow their way to prosperity.
In his January 29th newsletter, John Mauldin selects some of the juicier pieces for citation. They make for sobering reading. Enjoy (or maybe not.)