Throughout the ages money was a prerogative of national sovereignty. Currency management was the responsibility of governments. After World War 2 Bretton Woods provided the framework for intergovernmental monetary cooperation until, in the early seventies, the banking community, using the Eurodollar as an international medium of exchange, forced governments to adopt a regime of floating rates. The book describes how, in the 1950s, through an improbable chain of events, Soviet-owned banks established in Paris and London spawned the Eurodollar market, which has come to dominate world finance. The Euromarket has given rise to a new breed of financiers and currency traders who radically changed the nature of international banking. The book relates the collision between sovereign states and stateless economic forces, the struggle for supremacy between the political authorities and the international financial community, their strategies and tactics, their strengths and weaknesses.
ARMAND VAN DORMAEL joined the American company Sears, Roebuck in 1949 and was appointed head of the European buying organization with headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. He thus acquired over 25 years direct experience of international trade. The monetary crises of the 1970s led him to search for a rational analysis of the structure of international finance. His book Bretton Woods: Birth of a Monetary System became a standard reference, described by The Economist as absorbing ... an intriguing story and by the THES as the best scholarly work on the subject.