An interview with Ed Conway: The Summit, the story of Bretton Woods. And win a signed copy of the book.

Last week, Sky’s Ed Conway came in to talk about his brilliant book “The Summit”, the story behind the Bretton Woods conference that tried to organise the structure of the global economy in the aftermath of the Second World War, and enshrined the dominance of the US dollar as the world’s currency.

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The conference took place as the war was still raging, both in Europe in the weeks after D-Day, and also in the Pacific. Whilst the Russians were invited to the run down hotel in New Hampshire, and were still very much an ally of the western powers, tensions were mounting and the Cold War was about to begin. Incredibly it appears that the US’s chief negotiator, Harry Dexter White, may himself have been a Soviet spy. “The Summit” is a fascinating account of what was a fairly surreal and incredibly drunken retreat. It also covers the genius and eccentricities of John Maynard Keynes’s final months before his death – for all his greatness and reputation he couldn’t prevent bankrupt Britain’s economic side-lining by the US. As well as being a great piece of economic history, the debate about how the great powers can manage the value of global currencies, and the role of gold in that, is as relevant today as then. The book is also full of interesting colour – for example did you know that the world only ended up with a gold standard because Sir Isaac Newton miscalculated the value of silver when he was Master of the Mint?

You can watch our interview with Ed here. We also have 15 signed copies of his book to give away in our competition, for a chance to win you will need to answer the following question.

Question: Which US President ended the Bretton Woods agreement?

Email your answer to bondvigilantes@mandg.co.uk. The competition will close at midday on Wednesday 10th December. You can view the T&Cs here.

 

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