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The opéra bouffe that was the Bretton Woods conference

A review of The Summit, by Ed Conway. Despite the tantrums, logistical absurdities and interminable procedural wrangling, the conference that invented the IMF and World Bank included many moments of human greatness

14 June 2014

8:00 AM

14 June 2014

8:00 AM

The Summit Ed Conway

Little, Brown, pp.453, £25, ISBN: 9781408704929

There ought to be a comic opera about the Bretton Woods conference — Thomas Adès’s Powder Her Face, about Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, with its mordant libretto by Philip Hensher, should be the model. Everything about the conference was overdone. It was held in 1944 in the gargantuan Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire, which provided a preposterous background of gimcrack luxury.

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