Benn Steil's The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order
3 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2013 Last revised: 24 May 2017
Date Written: July 15, 2013
On July 1, 1944, less than a month after Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, seven hundred thirty delegates from forty-four nations gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel in Carroll, New Hampshire — an area more commonly known as Bretton Woods. With the White Mountains serving as a backdrop, the participants spent three weeks designing multilateral institutions to facilitate international economic cooperation after the war. To paraphrase Vassar economist and American delegate Mabel Newcomer, there was little time for hiking. Two of these institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank), continue to play significant roles in the global economy nearly seventy years later. In his new book, The Battle of Bretton Woods, Benn Steil provides a well-researched and interesting account of the historic monetary conference. He draws heavily on archival evidence and clearly explains the motivations underlying the complex interactions leading up to, during, and immediately following the Bretton Woods meeting. His efforts make for an enjoyable read.
Keywords: monetary systems, monetary regimes, gold standard, Bretton Woods, John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White
JEL Classification: E42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation