Jean Monnet's memoirs cover a breath-taking sweep of time which witnessed some of history's greatest upheavals - through two World Wars and formidable economic hardship to slow, painstaking recovery and the founding of a new and necessary political unity among states which had been enemies for centuries. Monnet was at the vanguard of those European thinkers who identified Franco-German cooperation as the foundation of a peaceful and prosperous Europe, and his writings provide a compelling account of the birth pangs of the new Europe from within.
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Though never elected to public office, French diplomat and political economist Jean Monnet (1888-1979) played a hugely influential role behind the scenes of European and American governments and, as founder of the Action Committee for the United States of Europe and the first leader of a European executive body (the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community), is now widely regarded as the chief architect of European unity. His crucial influence on the development of the EU is commemorated today in the Jean Monnet Programme of the EU's Directorate-General for Education and Culture, which promotes knowledge of European integration across the world. Richard Mayne (1926-2009) was a journalist, broadcaster and writer who joined the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1956 and became adviser to Jean Monnet. He was later the chief representative of the European Commission.
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