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Who Wrote the Memoirs of Jean Monnet?

An Intimate Account of an Historic Collaboration

Clifford P. Hackett

Who Wrote the Memoirs of Jean Monnet? presents the only account of the thirty years spent by Jean Monnet, the "Father of Europe," creating his memoirs. Based on numerous interviews with Monnet’s collaborator, Francois Fontaine, and many others, the book reveals the concepts, delays, frustrations, and successes of an historic collaboration. This significant contribution provides a fresh viewpoint into both European Union history and biographical writing.

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Part III: Origins of the Memoirs: Four Views


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Part III

Origins of the Memoirs

Four Views

Several persons, each close to Monnet in quite different ways, were involved with the start of the memoirs. Their interviews (in Part IX) give further details.

Henri Rieben, a Swiss professor and later guardian of the Monnet archives in Lausanne, wrote his doctoral dissertation on the European steel industry, a fact brought to Monnet’s attention in 1954. For the next 25 years Monnet gradually became the center of Rieben’s institutional and personal life. Why and how the Monnet archives ended in Switzerland is a long and complicated story beyond this book. But Rieben’s influence in supporting and describing the Monnet legacy is clear.

Rieben’s recollections of his extensive relations with Monnet are given in many of the several hundred publications, Les Cahiers Rouges (The Red Books) of the Fondation Jean Monnet Pour l’Europe (FJM). Especially valuable is his 1989 publication, Temoignages a la Memoire de Jean Monnet. Rieben’s small extract (in Part IX), among those of many others who knew Monnet, covers a crucial grant from the Ford Foundation, which supported the archival basis for the memoirs. ← 19 | 20 →

Eric Westphal knew Monnet from 1948 when he and step daughter Anna Gianinni Monnet were both students. He eventually worked three times for Monnet. His account in interviews and memos emphasize the problems Monnet had in concentrating his attention and his energies on the memoirs. Westphal’s...

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