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The Battle of Bretton Woods John Maynard Keynes Harry Dexter White and the Making of a New World Order Ben Steil 2013 :: The Progressive Torrents Community
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The Battle of Bretton Woods John Maynard Keynes Harry Dexter White and the Making of a New World Order Ben Steil 2013




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2015-09-06 22:52:40


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blueprint for the postwar economic order was actually drawn, The Battle
of Bretton Woods is destined to become a classic of economic and
political history. Review Winner of the 2013 Spears Book Award in
Financial History Co-Winner of the 2014 Bronze Medal in Economics,
Axiom Business Book Awards One of The Motley Fools (John Reeves) 10
Great Books on American Economic History One of Financial Times
(FT.com) Best History Books of 2013 One of Bloomberg News Top Business
Books of 2013 One of Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Books of the Year
for 2013 in Business and Economics One of Bloomberg/Businessweek Best
Books of 2013, as selected individually by Fredrik Erixon, Scott
Minerd, Olli Rehn and Alan Greenspan Featured in The Sunday Times 2013
Holiday Roundup Shortlisted for the 2013 800-CEO-READ Business Book
Awards in Finance & Economics Honorable Mention for the 2014 Arthur
Ross Book Award, Council on Foreign Relations Shortlisted for the 2014
Lionel Gelber Prize, Lionel Gelber Foundation "The Battle of Bretton
Woods should become the gold standard on its topic. The details are
addictive."--Fred Andrews, New York Times "Steil, a senior fellow at
the Council on Foreign Relations, understands the economic issues at
stake and has done meticulous research on the history. Every good story
that has ever been told about the major actors involved and the
happening itself is in his book, and a few more besides. For those who
come fresh to the subject, and even for those who know most of it, it
is an excellent and revealing account."--Robert Skidelsky, New York
Review of Books "A superb history. Mr. Steil . . . is a talented
storyteller."--James Grant, Wall Street Journal "[A] masterful (and
readable) account of American realpolitik and British
delusion."--Andrew Hilton, Financial World "Steils book, engaging and
entertaining, perceptive and instructive, is a triumph of economic and
diplomatic history. Everything is here: political chicanery,
bureaucratic skulduggery, espionage, hard economic detail and the acid
humour of men making history under pressure."--Tony Barber, Financial
Times "This is a fantastic book. Gold and money, two of my favorite
topics. Its also brilliantly insightful history, and a gripping spy
thriller to boot."--Larry Kudlow, CNBC "[T]he author masterfully
translates the arcana of competing theories of monetary policy, and a
final chapter explains how, while some of the institutions created by
Bretton Woods endure--the World Bank, the International Monetary
Fund--many of the conferences assumptions were swiftly overtaken by
the Marshall Plan. Throughout Steils sharp discussion runs the
intriguing subplot of Whites career-long, secret relationship with
Soviet intelligence. A vivid, highly informed portrayal of the
personalities, politics and policies dominating the most important
international gathering since the Paris Peace Conference of
1919."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "In his masterful account, The
Battle of Bretton Woods, Steil situates the conference firmly in the
tense, heightened atmosphere of the final months of World War II. . . .
Steils book comes alive in his description of [Keynes and Whites]
contrasting experiences at the conference."--Sam Knight, Bloomberg News
"[H]ypnotically readable."--Peter Passell, Milken Institute Review
"[T]hought provoking and well written."--Kathleen Burk, Literary Review
"This is an excellent book. . . . [It] also contains some explosive
revelations about Whites work as a Soviet spy, very well documented I
might add."--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution "If you think economics
and finance are dry subjects at best, Steils book offers a refreshing
surprise. Its a political thriller in which the protagonists, one whom
you think you know and one whom you probably dont, are much more
intriguing (in both senses of the word) than they first
appear."--Daniel Altman, Big Think "[I]n a new book explaining what
really happened at Bretton Woods, Benn Steil shows that what happened
in the mountains of New Hampshire that summer is not quite the story we
have been told."--Neil Irwin, WashingtonPost.com "[Benn Steils] new
book The Battle of Bretton Woods is perhaps the most accessible study
yet of a key moment in world economic history that nonetheless is
poorly understood."--Kevin Carmichael, Globe & Mail "The clash between
Keynes and White forms a central theme in Benn Steils absorbing book,
which should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand the
not-so-special relationship between the US and Britain."--Geoffrey
Owen, Standpoint Magazine "[F]ascinating. . . . Steil . . . spins the
tale of how U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, a close friend of
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, allowed White, a little-known
economist who wasnt even on the U.S. Treasurys regular payroll, to
dominate the departments monetary and trade policies beginning in the
1930s."--John M. Barry, USA Today "[A] well-written, fascinating
history of the Bretton Woods conference on the international monetary
system in July 1941. The book is deep, well researched, and hard to put
down. Benn Steil . . . has produced a book that will help us to
understand history, but also one we can use to contrast with the
current international economic situation. . . . This is a very good
book."--John M. Mason, Seeking Alpha "I do hope the title of this
riveting read does not put off readers who mistake Benn Steils latest
work for an arcane discussion of exchange rates, the gold standard and
the stuff of debates in commons rooms. This book is more than that,
much more. It is a tale of a battle of titans and of a war between
nations, each intent on establishing the economic architecture that
would ensure its postwar economic domination of world finance."--Irwin
Stelzer, Sunday Times "[V]ivid personality portraits and a lively
writing style."--Mike Foster, Financial News "[F]ascinating. . . .
[R]iveting. . . . The Battle of Bretton Woods is chock-full of
provocative and timely observations."--Glenn C. Altschuler, Tulsa World
"President Obama would be wise to take it to Marthas Vineyard this
summer."--John Tamny, Forbes.com "Benn Steil has just completed a
fascinating book that looks at what really happened in the small New
Hampshire town of Bretton Woods in 1944. Perhaps most surprising is
that the real story that emerges isnt a tale of how 44 countries came
together to rebuild the world. And the real story has different lessons
for the 21st century than ambitious idealists might expect."--Andrew
Sawers, Economia "[A] splendid book. . . . If you want to understand
the gold standard, the always-doomed dollar standard, why the IMF is in
Washington, how the US deliberately humiliated Britain over debt
before, during and after WWII as part of a very real currency war (but
also out of genuine anti-colonial sentiment that the British never
understood), this is the book for you. . . . Every year publishers come
out with a couple of purportedly serious books on FX, some by VIPs, and
I read them all. This is the only one since Paul Volckers Changing
Fortunes in 1979 that is worth the price. It is non-partisan,
well-written, thorough, and chock-full of the historical perspective
that can so easily and so often get lost in the hurly-burly of the
daily market."--Barbara Rockefeller, Harriman Intelligence blog "[A]
provocative, lively and perceptive book that pulls together economics,
politics, diplomacy and history and relates it to our current
crisis."--Keith Simpson MP, Total Politics "This thorough, fascinating
account of the international conference that culminated in the 1944
agreement to maintain stable exchange rates skillfully places it in its
economic and geopolitical context. . . . Steil not only recounts the
intricacies of the deal making but also details the economic dimensions
of Bretton Woods. . . . With the help of 10 research assistants, Steil
has tirelessly tracked down minute details of the Bretton Woods story
and its epilogue. . . . [Steil] offers excellent insight into the
tribulations of the key players. He also tells the interesting tale of
how, if not for the well-founded suspicions regarding Harry Dexter
Whites cooperation with Communist spies, the tradition of an American
heading the World Bank and a European heading the IMF would have been
reversed."--Financial Analysts Journal "Steil understands the economics
at the heart of the tortuous negotiations, but he is also very good at
explaining the politics, the power and the passions--the professional
and personal rivalries--of the people at the negotiating table. He
turns what could have been a dry account of economic accords into a
thrilling story of ambition, drama, and intrigue."--Keith Richmond,
Tribune Magazine, UK "[A] very well-written history, with lively
personalities, [which] also serves as a great overview of the
analytical issues in international monetary arrangements."--Diane
Coyle, Enlightened Economist blog "Absorbing . . . as an account of
history-making at the highest level, this entertaining, informative,
gossipy and, for the lay reader, often challenging book provides an
excellent read."--Richard Steyn, Financial Mail "[A]n amazing true
story . . . highly entertaining."--Ian McMaster, Business Spotlight "An
object lesson in how to make economic history at once entertaining and
instructive."--Financial Times, "Books of the Year So Far" Summer
Reading Guide "A valuable addition to the economic history
literature."--Choice "Its always nice when you can combine outside
reading for fun with something that is educational. . . . [A] good read
that is also good for you."--Daniel Shaviro, Jotwell "The book provides
a terrifically written, gossipy account of the origins of Bretton
Woods. . . . Since the world spent several decades under the clumsy
(and, to the U.S., costly) Bretton Woods regime, and since you
sometimes hear people harkening back to that time as a golden age
(which it surely was not), . . . it is an important read for our
day."--Dan Littman, Senior Payments Research Consultant and Economist,
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland "Benn Steil [of the] Council on
Foreign Relations has written a fascinating book on the two main
architects behind the Bretton Woods system. . . . Steils book is an
outstanding piece of political science research . . . extremely well
written and well documented. . . . It is strongly recommended."--Morten
Balling, SUERF Newsletter "Benn Steils remarkable book . . . is an
account of how the IMF first came to be, back in the sleepy New
Hampshire summer of 1944. . . . The Battle of Bretton Woods is an
essential volume in any understanding of John Maynard Keynes, who
though now seven decades gone is as influential a mind as we may yet
see in the twenty-first century."--Brian Domitrovic, Library of Law and
Liberty blog "Steils book . . . shows how normally abstruse economic
and diplomatic history can be made palatable and even alluring to the
general reader."--Christopher Silvester, Spears "[A] fascinating
account of the developments leading up to the Bretton Woods conference
and its immediate aftermath, from the point of view of the two main
characters involved: John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White. The
book is based on extensive archive work, so often the participants
speak for themselves, which makes for interesting reading."--Isaac
Alfon, Central Banking Journal "The Battle of Bretton Woods sets forth
in smooth prose and concise detail an authoritative narrative of the
who-what-when-why of the great monetary conference of some 70 years
ago. It is jam-packed with heady discussions. . . . If were fortunate,
Benn Steil will deliver a follow-up."--Kevin R. Kosar, Weekly Standard
"Individual persons are at the center of the story, which also comes
loaded with tales of international intrigue, spycraft, and famous
personalities. Its not just for history buffs and economics
geeks."--Douglas French, Freeman, publication of the Foundation for
Economic Education "Seduced by Keyness rhetorical repudiation both of
the austerity implied by [promptly paying off Britains war debts]
and the temptation of accepting a loan, the British shipped Keynes to
Washington . . . to seek justice, to wit, the third option. In his
recent history of the period, Benn Steil deftly paints what
ensued."--Patrick Honohan, Irish Times "[T]his thought-provoking book
is about much more than the 1944 conference that established the
architecture of the postwar international monetary system, leading to
the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the World
Bank."--Foreign Affairs "Benn Steil has crafted a fine history. . . .
Characterized by fine and entertaining writing, The Battle of Bretton
Woods is economic and political history in engrossing
detail."--Satyajit Das, Naked Capitalism "Benn Steil provides a
well-researched and interesting account of the historic monetary
conference. . . . His efforts make for an enjoyable read. . . . Steil
is perhaps at his best when articulating how the Bretton Woods system
differed from the classical gold standard--a difference that would
ultimately lead to the failure of Bretton Woods. . . . Steils
excellent book should serve as a gentle reminder of which monetary
systems have worked well in the past--and which should not be
repeated."--William J. Luther, SSRNs Economic History eJournal "An
informed citizenry includes an understanding of our economy and how it
is integrated into the global financial system. For this, it is
important to start from the . . . discussions that occurred among 44
nations in the idyllic and calm resort at Bretton Woods, N.H., in 1944.
[Benn Steils] new book details not only the meeting but the deep
arguments between the British economist John Maynard Keynes and
[American Treasury official] Harry Dexter White. . . . This is a
serious book of political economic history."--Cmdr. Youssef
Aboul-Enein, DCMilitary "Benn Steils book provides a fascinating
account of the developments leading up to the Bretton Woods conference
and its immediate aftermath, from the point of view of the two main
characters involved: John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White. The
book is based on extensive archive work, so often the participants
speak for themselves, which makes for interesting reading."--Isaac
Alfon, Central Banking Journal "This masterful account dismantles the
idyllic picture of the 1944 Bretton Woods international economic
conference, situating it firmly in the tense atmosphere of the final
months of World War II."--Laurie Muchnick, Bloomberg Top Business Books
of 2013 "Steils book is an object lesson in how to make economic
history entertaining and instructive."--Tony Barber, Financial Times
"Benn Steil not only produces the finest account of the conference that
established the Pax Americana economic system after World War II, he
does it with the skill of a novelist."--Jon Talton, SeattleTimes.com
"[A] well-documented, engaging account of the Bretton Woods Conference.
. . . The material on Harry Dexter White is fascinating . . . an
essential reference [with] much to teach economic historians."--Joshua
Hausman, Journal of Economic History "The Battle of Bretton Woods is a
thorough and fascinating account of a historic event, skillfully placed
in its economic and geopolitical context. [H]e offers excellent insight
into the tribulations of the key players. He also tells the interesting
tale of how, if not for the well-founded suspicions regarding Harry
Dexter Whites cooperation with Communist spies, the tradition of an
American heading the World Bank and a European heading the IMF would
have been reversed."--Martin S. Fridson, Financial Analysts Journal
"Steils book is essential reading for students of multilateralism,
diplomacy, and international economic relations. . . . It is also an
excellent overview of the behind-the-scenes machinations that caused
Britain to agree to the final document that placed America, and the
dollar, at the top of the global financial pyramid. . . . [O]f primary
interest to most readers . . . it is a fascinating and nuanced glimpse
into the psychology of Second World War era economic espionage."--Marc
D. Froese, International Journal "This story is well told. It is also
well known. . . . Steil is targeting a broader audience than scholars,
however, and in that sense, this book is a success at recasting a
surprisingly exciting story."--Thomas W. Zeiler, Register of the
Kentucky Historical Society "Steil breathes new life and controversy
into a familiar story by emphasizing the intellectual and political
clash between John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White."--James
McAllister, H-Diplo/ISSF Roundtable "Steil rarely puts a foot wrong.
His analysis of policies and personalities, however he has acquired his
knowledge, reflects a sophisticated understanding of the inner workings
of financial diplomacy."--Stephen Schuker, H-Diplo/ISSF Roundtable
"[A]n ably crafted narrative."--Darel Paul, H-Diplo/ISSF Roundtable
"[The book] is a welcome departure from less political, or more
American-centric, accounts of Bretton Woods."--William Glenn Gray,
H-Diplo/ISSF Roundtable "[T]his is a beautiful narrative of the making
of Bretton Woods, based on serious archival research and with some nice
old photos as illustrations."--Ivo Maes, History of Economic Ideas "The
Battle of Bretton Woods is a remarkable work that embraces many
disciplines: economic history, political economy and international
relations. Benn Steil is able to merge the different perspectives from
all these disciplines, taking the reader into both the political battle
and the economic thinking."--Anna Missiaia, Financial History Review "A
gripping account. . . . John Le Carre meets international monetary
history: this is clearly a different kind of page-turner."--Jayati
Ghosh, Economic & Political Weekly "The Battle of Bretton Woods is a
remarkable work that embraces many disciplines: history, economic
history, political economy and international relations. Benn Steil is
able to merge the different perspectives from all these disciplines,
taking the reader into both the political battle and the economic
thinking that took place at Bretton Woods."--Anna Missiaia, Financial
History Review "Epic."--Ashok Rao, Vox "[E]ngaging and instructive . .
. Benn Steil has written a book full of historical insight and human
color."--Robert L. Hetzel, Econ Focus "[A] good piece of historical
investigation that will put an end to doubts as to whether White was in
fact a Soviet agent."--Maria Cristina Marcuzzo, Economica "[A]
thoughtful and well-researched addition to economic history."--Mark L.
Wilson, Journal of Economic Issues From the Back Cover "Benn Steil has
written a wonderfully rich and vivid account of the making of the
postwar economic order. The Battle of Bretton Woods tells the
fascinating story of the contest between the United States and Britain,
led by the outsized personalities of Harry Dexter White and John
Maynard Keynes, to reconcile their competing visions and
interests."--Liaquat Ahamed, author of Lords of Finance "A riveting,
exceptionally well-written account of the birth of the postwar economic
order, and the roles of two determined men who were competing to define
it. The Battle of Bretton Woods is a must-read work of economic and
diplomatic history with great relevance to today."--Alan Greenspan,
former chairman of the Federal Reserve "This is a fascinating study of
monetary affairs and the politics of international finance, all tied up
in the history of the Bretton Woods system and its ultimate demise. The
book is full of lessons that are relevant today in a world that still
resists international monetary reform."--Paul Volcker, former chairman
of the Federal Reserve "Benn Steil has written a fascinating book with
far-reaching consequences. In seeing the creation of the postwar
economic system through the prism of the harsh interaction between
Keynes and White, he makes complicated financial issues easy to fathom.
Above all, Steil conclusively establishes the truth of an astonishing
paradox--that White, the architect of the global capitalist financial
architecture, was also a secret agent of the Soviet Union!"--Andrew
Roberts, author of The Storm of War "Beautifully and engagingly
written, deeply researched, and of great contemporary interest, this
book addresses how Bretton Woods really worked. One virtue of the book
is that it places the United States and its chief negotiator, the
enigmatic Harry Dexter White, at the center of the narrative. It also
documents more fully and convincingly than any previous account the
extent of Whites espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union, a story that
enhances an already gripping narrative."--Harold James, author of
Making the European Monetary Union


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