A brilliant biography of one of the pivotal and least likely creators of a new European world. Monnet's career in international affairs began with his place on an Anglo-French supply mission to the United States in World War I, flourished in World War II, and had its lasting impact with the postwar Monnet plan for economic renewal in France and his push for Franco-German reconciliation through the Schuman Plan. Monnet had the most extraordinary links to people in power, especially in the United States. Self-effacing, operating usually without formal office and always without direct political ambition, he could effectively mobilize his connections to promote common institutions for a new "civilianized" Europe. Duchene, who worked with Monnet for ten years, has done vast archival research and illuminates Monnet's career in its full historical context. More, he offers a comprehensive analysis of Monnet's basic premises, aims, and inspired, dogged ways of pursuing and often achieving his goals.
Duchene is a splendid analyst and stylist with a gift for the elegant and incisive phrase. The book is long, but so was Monnet's life. A great achievement, marred by a footnote apparatus that elevates unreadability to intolerable heights.