Partly narrative and memoir but always analytical, this major book (edited from a seminar at Princeton) provides a stimulating and authoritative account of the international monetary history of the last 40 years, especially as seen by Paul Volcker from his many inside seats. Toyoo Gyohten, whose career was spent in the Japanese ministry of finance, provides a most enlightening discussion of how these matters were seen in Tokyo and what his government learned as time passed. All the great crises are here-the Nixon shocks of 1971, the Bonn Summit of 1978, the debt problems of the developing countries-but just as noteworthy is the examination of the fabric of continuing relations. Volcker suggests that the American economy would be in better shape if it's domestic policies had taken more account of the international situation, and at key points he poses unanswered questions about the past and the future. The authors are discreet and generally kind to individuals, but there are some nice personal touches.
Get the best of Foreign Affairs' book reviews delivered to you.
More Reviews on Economic, Social, and Environmental From This Issue