In This Review

Le Travail d'une Vie: Memoires 1911-1986
Le Travail d'une Vie: Memoires 1911-1986
By Robert Marjolin
Laffont, 1986, 445 pp

From the summer of 1947, when he played a key part in drafting the European response to the Marshall Plan, until 1967, when he left the Commission of the European Economic Community after two terms as vice chairman, Robert Marjolin, who died last year, was at the center of the processes of European integration. Consequently, the long sections of this book devoted to those years constitute a historic document. Though succinct and selective, the account is punctuated by careful assessments of what it all meant. There is, however, much more to these memoirs. A poor boy, Marjolin left school and went to work at 14 but then entered the Sorbonne; before graduating he spent a year in the United States, where the Depression and the New Deal turned him from philosophy to economics; during the war he was in North Africa and London until Jean Monnet took him to Washington; he spent years on the boards of American and European multinationals. The combination of telling detail, reflections on the large issues that engaged him and some pointed comment makes this a most attractive book.