Over the course of three days--from August 13 to 15, 1971--at a secret meeting at Camp David, President Richard Nixon and his brain trust changed the course of history. Before that weekend, all national currencies were valued to the U.S. dollar, which was convertible to gold at a fixed rate. That system, established by the Bretton Woods Agreement at the end of World War II, was the foundation of the international monetary system that helped fuel the greatest expansion of middle-class prosperity the world has ever seen. In making his decision, Nixon shocked world leaders, bankers, investors, traders and everyone involved in global finance. Three Days at Camp David chronicles this critical turning point, analyzes its impact on the American economy and world markets, and explores its ramifications now and for the future.
This is not the book to read if you want to better understand the arguments for and against free-floating currencies, or the causes of inflation and depression. It is, however, a fascinating and for the most part well-executed case study of how some important economic decisions were made ... [Garten] remains a well-connected, well-respected emeritus member of the financial-political elite. That point of view robs Three Days at Camp David of much of the bite it might have if written by a journalist or conventional academic. But it adds a perhaps useful appreciation for how hard it is to get things right in government.
A densely detailed and highly charged account of the Nixon administration’s abandonment of the gold standard ... Fiscal and monetary policy wonks will admire Garten’s skillful narrative and thorough research.
Garten vividly sketches the personalities behind the policy [...] and the political optics that preoccupied them. Garten’s lucid, easy-to-grasp exposition focuses on international turmoil in exchange rates and trade ... this is an enlightening study of an era when previously unthinkable economic measures suddenly went mainstream.