March 24th 2018

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Media ensure a comfy rise for Bill Shorten

CANBERRA OBSERVED Can Liberals' broad church survive schism?

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Middle-East time bomb: youth unemployment

ENVIRONMENT Europe's freeze further proof of global warming!

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cashless debit card records positive results

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Liberals' Tasmanian victory: the implications

OPINION The height of absurdity: education as business

ECONOMICS AND CHINA Eyes averted from the dragon in the marketplace

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM The state attacking the Church: lessons from history

FAMILY POLITICS A Trojan horse for monitoring children

NORTH AMERICA The cultural and political mosaic that is Canada

CINEMA Mary Magdalene on film: a new interpretation

MUSIC Audio-visual: or, how to watch your music

CINEMA The Adventures of Tintin: A light amid the bleakness

BOOK REVIEW Taking arms against the gender fluid fad

BOOK REVIEW Narrative history from a great writer



Books promotion page

John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order

Benn Steil


Buy Book

(Princeton University Press, 2013)
Paperback: 464 pages
ISBN: 9780691162379
Price: AUD$39.90


Book description

When turmoil strikes world monetary and financial markets, leaders invariably call for ‘a new Bretton Woods’ to prevent catastrophic economic disorder and defuse political conflict. The name of the remote New Hampshire town where representatives of 44 nations gathered in July 1944, in the midst of the century’s second great war, has become shorthand for enlightened globalisation. The actual story surrounding the historic Bretton Woods accords, however, is full of startling drama, intrigue, and rivalry, which are vividly brought to life in Benn Steil’s epic account.

Upending the conventional wisdom that Bretton Woods was the product of an amiable Anglo-American collaboration, Steil shows that it was in reality part of a much more ambitious geopolitical agenda hatched within President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Treasury and aimed at eliminating Britain as an economic and political rival.

At the heart of the drama were the antipodal characters of John Maynard Keynes, the renowned and revolutionary British economist, and Harry Dexter White, the dogged, self-made American technocrat. Bringing to bear new and striking archival evidence, Steil offers the most compelling portrait yet of the complex and controversial figure of White — the architect of the dollar’s privileged place in the Bretton Woods monetary system, who also, very privately, admired Soviet economic planning and engaged in clandestine communications with Soviet intelligence officials and agents over many years.

A remarkably deft work of storytelling that reveals how the 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.



Benn Steil is senior fellow and director of international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. His previous book, Money, Markets, and Sovereignty, was awarded the 2010 Hayek Book Prize.



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

“Steil’s 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 favourite topics. It’s also brilliantly insightful history, and a gripping spy thriller to boot.” — Larry Kudlow, CNBC

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