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Free Trade, Free World: The Advent of GATT (Luther Hartwell Hodges Series on Business, Society, and the State) Hardcover – February 17, 1999

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Editorial Reviews


A balanced picture of the politics of an episode that has not received much attention.

American Historical Review

Zeiler has written an excellent, timely book on how GATT was created in the 1940s.

Foreign Affairs

A penetrating, gracefully written history of the political economy of the international community during the dawning of the Cold War.

Randall B. Woods, University of Arkansas

His book rests on an impressive foundation of research in U.S. and foreign archives.

Alfred E. Eckes Jr., Ohio University

From the Inside Flap

A history of the birth of GATT, this book traces the debate between proponents of free trade and advocates of protectionism, showing why compromise ultimately triumphed: American officials forged a consensus for freer trade as a means of confronting Communism.


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Product Details

  • Series: Luther Hartwell Hodges Series on Business, Society, and the State
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807824585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807824580
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,870,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas F. Chambers on April 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The publication of Thomas W. Zeiler's book, Free Trade Free World: The Advent of GATT is indeed timely. As recent WTO meetings in Seattle showed, there is much confusion in the minds of many people about what has happened to world trade in recent years. Zeiler's book deals with the establishment of the GATT and provides an excellent background to the early years of the free trade debate. Covering the period from 1940 to 1953, it shows that controversy and disagreement were common at the birth of the GATT and globalization much as they are today.
Zeiler, associate professor of history at the University of Colorado at Boulder, provides a well-researched and detailed history of the very difficult discussions between the United States and its allies over free trade during and immediately after the Second World War. His book is well written and interesting. It shows that not only did the American supporters of free trade have to battle their foes at home, they had to constantly struggle to convince many other leaders of democratic nations that free trade was in their best interests, as well as America's. Economic arguments about the benefits of free trade to the world community often ran up against the realities of politics as well as the economic belief that protection was better for the public good. In the United States it was hard to argue with opponents of free trade that allowing in cheaper imports such as shoes helped to improve employment when workers in shoe factories lost their jobs.
Negotiations between the United States, Great Britain, and the British Commonwealth about the relaxation of protectionist measures began during World war 2.
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