In This Review

Harry White and the American Creed: How a Federal Bureaucrat Created the Modern Global Economy (and Failed to Get the Credit)
Harry White and the American Creed: How a Federal Bureaucrat Created the Modern Global Economy (and Failed to Get the Credit)
By James M. Boughton
Yale University Press, 2021, 464 pp.

The economist and bureaucrat Harry Dexter White is known for his service to the U.S. Treasury Department in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations and for designing the post–World War II international economic and financial order in partnership with John Maynard Keynes. White is rightly regarded as a central figure in the creation of the twentieth-century global economy, but his reputation has been clouded by accusations that he might have been a Soviet spy, a fellow traveler, or, at the very least, an enabler. Boughton describes White’s early scholarly contributions and rise from academic obscurity. He goes to great lengths to demolish, presumably once and for all, claims that White was disloyal to the United States. He recounts White’s consequential role in the design of the New Deal, in U.S. foreign financial diplomacy in the 1930s, in securing financing for World War II, and in the historic negotiations leading to the establishment of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. White emerges as something of an international economic Forrest Gump, a witness to and a participant in the major events of his time. He finally has the biography he deserves.