NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Five years ago on Sunday, Sept. 14, investment bank

Lehman Brothers

filed for bankruptcy, a turning point in the 2008 financial crisis that caused tumult in esoteric credit markets to accelerate into a cascading global financial panic.

What began as a Wall Street-oriented catastrophe eventually reached all corners of the global economy. The U.S. fell into the sharpest recession since the Great Depression. In Europe, nations teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.

Millions of Americans lost their jobs and unemployment rates remain at historic highs in many developed market economies. The 2008 crisis has also spawned an overhaul of the global financial system as regulators work to ensure that future banking industry panics don't imperil ordinary citizens.

Five years ago, a handful of extraordinarily powerful bankers were racing to save the financial system after sowing the seeds of collapse. Bankers such as Richard S. Fuld of Lehman Brothers, John Mack of

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

and John Thain of

Merrill Lynch

were working around the clock to save their firms. Government officials such as New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Fed Chair Ben Bernanke meanwhile, were in the process of hatching was the biggest rescue -- or bailout -- in Wall Street's history.

In a definitive

New Yorker

recount of the crisis, James Stewart called the crescendo of panic that began on Sept. 12, 2008, the

Eight Days of the Financial Crisis

. As Stewart concluded, there was a point during the economic tumult when unbridled fear conquered reason.

Depending on one's views some acted decisively and heroically to curtail the panic. Others wonder why more bankers weren't prosecuted. There is also still widespread unease with the size of Wall Street's bailout and an ensuing concentration of wealth among the nation's economic elite not seen since the Gilded Age.

TheStreet

TheStreet Recommends

combed

audio files

made available by the Senate-appointed

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission

for perspectives from key players in the financial crisis. The FCIC's

work

stands as a definitive account of what brought the global economy to near collapse. Disclosures made by the Federal Reserve under the

Freedom of Information Act

also show

the alarming scope

of Wall Street's bailout. Transcripts

still to be released

by the Fed may yet shed more light on the crisis.

Here are recounts of the crisis from Jamie Dimon, Richard S. Fuld, Tim Geithner, Lloyd Blankfein, Ken Lewis, Warren Buffett and David Einhorn.They recall issues such as the bailout of

Bear Stearns

, the failure of Lehman, the rescue of Merrill Lynch, and the near-collapse of

AIG

.

God, Country, Lehman

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York.

Follow @antoinegara