cover image Jean Monnet: The First Statesman of Interdependence

Jean Monnet: The First Statesman of Interdependence

Francois Duchene. W. W. Norton & Company, $30 (478pp) ISBN 978-0-393-03497-4

Born in the French town of Cognac, a world center of brandy production, Jean Monnet (1888-1979) went from being a cognac salesman in his father's firm to ``Mr. Europe,'' the driving force behind European unification. Through behind-the-scenes diplomacy in WW II, Monnet helped bring U.S. power and material to bear decisively on the defeat of Hitler; worked with his sometime opponent, Charles de Gaulle, to secure Marshall Plan aid for France; and later cemented the Euratom treaty. The Monnet Plan (which laid the foundation for France's postwar industrial renewal) and the Schuman Plan (devised principally by Monnet but named after French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman) forged a Franco-German coal and steel federation that, in Duchene's view, laid the cornerstone of today's European Union. In this absorbing, dramatic biography, Duchene, an Economist correspondent and former aide to Monnet, closely reassesses the achievements of an ``entrepreneur in the public interest.'' This long overdue biography brings him out of the shadows. Photos. (Sept.)