Saturday, March 2, 2013

Spies, Gold, and Whitewash

Interesting review in the latest Finance & Development magazine by Eric Rauchway, History Professor at the University of California at Davis, of the "The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order," by Benn Steil.

Rauchway says the book is marred by "far-reaching claims based on inadequate evidence," particularly about the role of White, who was a senior U.S. Treasury official now believed to have given intelligence clandestinely to the Soviet Union (a subject touched on by IMF historian James Boughton).

The 1944 Bretton Woods conference laid the foundations of the modern international monetary system, but little was known about the exact proceedings of that historic gathering, until now. A U.S. treasury economist’s discovery of the original transcript of that meeting provides an insight into the characters and the intense debate surrounding the birth of two major international organizations. Listen to this podcast with Kurt Schuler

Read the F&D books section

New York Times review : "... should become the gold standard on its topic. The details are addictive. But be warned: the book is dense...  Perhaps that is what is missing here — an unmistakable voice, a sense that this rich history is told by one mind. The book sometimes reads like a succession of brilliant but loosely connected graduate seminar papers — an assemblage, a very fine one, but an assemblage nevertheless."

No comments:

Post a Comment