Kathleen Burk

Taking Gold

The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order


Princeton University Press 443pp £19.95 order from our bookshop

This book has the shape of a mountain: you tramp up one side, looking at the preparation and run-up to the ‘battle’ for nearly two hundred pages, spend fewer than sixty on the Bretton Woods conference itself and then tramp down for another hundred, as Benn Steil considers the aftermath to the present. It could be seen as something of a policy-driven production, invoking history to provide a context for our current predicament (comparisons with today’s US–China relationship repeatedly appear). Yet this would be to underrate its interest and its quality, which are both considerable.

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