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The Summit

On sale

5th March 2015

Price: £13.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349139616

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The idea of world leaders gathering in the midst of economic crisis has become all-too familiar. But the summit at Bretton Woods in 1944 was the only time countries from around the world have agreed to overhaul the structure of the international monetary system. And, what’s more, they were successful – it was the closest to perfection the world’s economy has ever been, and arguably the demise of the Bretton Woods system is behind our present woes.

This was no dry economic conference. The delegates spent half the time at each other’s throats, and the other half drinking in the hotel bar. The Russians nearly capsized the entire project. The French threatened to walk out, repeatedly. John Maynard Keynes had a heart attack. His American counterpart was a KGB spy. But this summit could be instrumental in preventing World War Three.

Drawing on a wealth of unpublished accounts, diaries and oral histories, this brilliant book describes the conference in stunning colour and clarity. Bringing to life the characters, events and economics and written with exceptional verve and narrative pace,this is an extraordinarily accomplished work of history from a talented new writer.


The scope of the subject matter is impressive, and the execution is outstanding
Times Literary Supplement
As a case study in how to wrangle diplomats and politicians, Bretton Woods is without peer and it is harder to imagine a book that better shows why than The Summit
Utterly absorbing, minutely researched . . . The picture so gloriously painted here is of a three-week, intellect-sapping, emotionally-draining roller-coaster
Keith Lowe, author of Savage Continent
Brilliantly researched, and hugely entertaining, this is an essential book about one of the most important economic events of the twentieth century
Library Journal
A gripping story . . . an essential purchase
Liaquat Ahamed, author of Lords of Finance
Brimming with the sort of vivid details that make the past come alive, The Summit is both an impressive work of scholarship and an absolute delight to read
The Times
Keynes's charisma and wit enliven the excellent narrative of Ed Conway
Conway, who is economics editor of Sky News, has written an accessible and intelligent work, based on substantial archival research
New York Times Book Review
An entertaining and insightful history. Readers will love how Conway skillfully brings to life the goings-on in what the British snobbily called 'the monstrous monkey house' of Bretton Woods
The Times
A riveting tale with colourful attention to detail
Irish Examiner
Conway's book is a fine and timely reminder that there are alternatives if the political will and intellectual imagination can be found to grasp them
History with scholarship and verve . . . This is a ripe, resounding story, brilliantly told
Evan Davis, TV and radio presenter and author of Made in Britain
Who would have thought that an account of an economic summit could be so absorbing? But it was no ordinary summit and Ed Conway's is an exceptional account
Washington Times
With no false modesty, Conway calls [Bretton Woods] 'a gripping tale,' and he is right on target. A lively writer, he keeps the reader fully engaged from start to finish: everything you could wish for about Bretton Woods and its aftermath. Mr. Conway is as sound in his judgments as his scope is wide and his analyses probing
Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
What makes Conway's account distinctive is that it is such good fun . . . his jolly, colourful account makes a perfect introduction to one of the most important meetings of the past century
A fascinating tale
Daily Beast
As a financial journalist, Conway is drawn to the human dimension of the saga. He devotes as much attention to the ambience of the decaying Mount Washington Hotel and highlights the personalities of the negotiators as much as the national interests they represented. While there are countless stories of heroism on the battlefields in France, Conway brings us the story of a different sort of heroism that was brought out in the halls of the Mount Washington Hotel in rural New Hampshire
A rattling good read