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Craig VanGrasstek

Washington, DC
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  • The Battle of Bretton Woods

  • John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order
  • By: Benn Steil
  • Narrated by: Philip Rose
  • Length: 15 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 176
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 145

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 globalization.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating!

  • By James Pritchett on 05-29-13

Economic rigor with a dash of thriller

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-29-18

A fitting prequel to his later examination of the Marshall Plan, Benn Steil’s review of the economic and political issues surrounding the Bretton Woods conference combines a tour de horizon of the allies’ policy challenges with compelling biographies of the conference’s two leading characters. John Maynard Keynes is usually the most attention-grabbing character in any story where he played a part, but in this one he is upstaged by the as-yet unresolved questions surrounding the relationship between Harry Dexter White and Soviet intelligence. Even listeners who might ordinarily shy away from the intricacies of international economics will find this tale engaging and enlightening.

  • The Marshall Plan

  • Dawn of the Cold War
  • By: Benn Steil
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 149
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 149

The award-winning author of The Battle of Bretton Woods reveals the gripping history behind the Marshall Plan—told with verve, insight, and resonance for today.

In the wake of World War II, with Britain’s empire collapsing and Stalin's on the rise, US officials under new secretary of state George C. Marshall set out to reconstruct western Europe as a bulwark against communist authoritarianism. Their massive, costly, and ambitious undertaking would confront Europeans and Americans alike with a vision at odds with their history and self-conceptions. In the process, they would drive the creation of NATO, the European Union, and a Western identity that continues to shape world events.

Focusing on the critical years 1947 to 1949, Benn Steil’s thrilling account brings to life the seminal episodes marking the collapse of postwar US-Soviet relations—the Prague coup, the Berlin blockade, and the division of Germany. In each case, we see and understand like never before Stalin’s determination to crush the Marshall Plan and undermine American power in Europe.

Given current echoes of the Cold War, as Putin’s Russia rattles the world order, the tenuous balance of power and uncertain order of the late 1940s is as relevant as ever. The Marshall Plan provides critical context into understanding today’s international landscape. Bringing to bear fascinating new material from American, Russian, German, and other European archives, Steil’s account will forever change how we see the Marshall Plan and the birth of the Cold War. A polished and masterly work of historical narrative, this is an instant classic of Cold War literature.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Deeply Researched Narrative

  • By Jean on 10-18-18

A 20th century history speaks to the 21st century

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-29-18

Benn Steil's admirably detailed and textured examination of this critical Cold War initiative not only brings out the challenges faced by Harry Truman, George Marshall, and their subordinates, as well as their allies and adversaries, but clearly connects the choices that they made to today's controversies. Arthur Morey delivers the text with just the right pace and intonation.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful