This major contribution to the history of West European integration recounts in remarkable detail the play-by-play negotiations that created the European Monetary System. Many of these were secret and quite a few were outside usual channels. So it is not surprising that Mr. Ludlow, a British historian who has worked for years on European issues, should not have learned quite everything, but he has made good and lively use of a great deal of inside information. The background, the false starts, the American angle, the worries of the IMF, the divergent views of parties and bureaucracies are well laid out and analyzed. As in so much of the history of European integration, internal politics are as important as international factors and personalities sometimes seem to explain more than does economics.