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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 VI: Monnet’s Thoughts with the Memoirs Underway

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Part VI



Monnet’s Thoughts with the Memoirs Underway

Jean Monnet wrote letters, memos and notes throughout his long life but many are missing from the historical record. The following personal comments by Monnet were collected by Francois Fontaine in 1975 while they were still working together on the text. They depict Monnet’s thought patterns, insights and personal voice better than most other available documents.

(From TM, “Jean Monnet nous disait …” [“Jean Monnet Tells Us …”] 215–221; selected, arranged and translated by the author to show Monnet’s diction and voice.)

“There were many people who wanted to do this book with me. They offered to come and tape record me for several days. And then it would be finished. I never work like that. I want to be free to say ‘No, that won’t do. Let’s start again.’ Let’s take up our conversation again later and take long enough until I feel we have found the right voice.”

* * *

“You ask me to turn back, to relive my past. That is always very difficult for me. I have never been concerned to know where I came from ← 31 | 32 → but rather where I am going. You haven’t often heard me say ‘This is what I should have done’ but rather ‘This is what must be done.’

“Where were we? Ah, yes. The plan for the book. No, that’s not it. We must start...

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