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Bernard-Henri Lévy

French philosopher and writer

Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French philosopher and one of the most esteemed and bestselling writers in Europe. He is the author of over 30 books, including works of philosophy, fiction, and biography, as well as several documentary films. His latest book, L'Esprit du judaïsme, appeared in France in February 2016. An English translation, The Spirit of Judaism, will be published by Random House in early 2017.

Lévy's play, “Hotel Europe,” premiered in Sarajevo on June 27, 2014, and in Paris on September 9. The play is a cry of alarm about the crisis facing the European project and the dream behind it.

Works available in English include American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville, a New York Times bestseller in 2006; Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism (2008); and, with Michel Houellebecq, Public Enemies: Dueling Writers Take on Each Other and the World (2011).

A 2013 book, Les Aventures de la Verité, explored the historical interplay of philosophy and art. The book was written as a companion to an exhibition by the same name that Lévy curated for the Fondation Maeght in Saint Paul de Vence (June 29–November 11, 2013).

Lévy gained renown for his documentary film about the Bosnian conflict, Bosna! (1994). After starting his career as a war reporter for Combat — the legendary newspaper founded by Albert Camus during the Nazi occupation of France — for which he covered the war between Pakistan and India over Bangladesh, Lévy was instrumental in the founding of the New Philosophers group. His 1977 book Barbarism with a Human Face launched an unprecedented controversy over the European left’s complicity with totalitarianism. Lévy’s cultural commentary, novels and journalism have continued to stir up such excitement that The Guardian noted he is ‘accorded the kind of adulation in France that most countries reserve for their rock stars.’

Lévy has undertaken several diplomatic missions for the French government. He was appointed by French President Jacques Chirac to head a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan in 2002 in the wake of the war against the Taliban, a war that Lévy supported. He has traveled to the world’s most troubled areas. He followed the trail of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan to research his ‘investigative novel’ Who Killed Daniel Pearl? (2003). His book War, Evil, and the End of History (2004) took him to the sites of what he calls the world's forgotten wars, from Colombia to Sri Lanka. His reportage and commentary from Israel during the 2006 Lebanon war appeared to wide acclaim in the New York Times Magazine. And after an extensive, clandestine visit to Darfur in 2007, he reported on the ethnic cleansing and genocide there for Le Monde and for The New Republic. His first-hand account of the fall of Moammar Gaddafi in Libya appeared in the form of a writer’s journal (La Guerre sans l’aimer, 2012) and a documentary film (The Oath of Tobruk, which debuted at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival). His most recent film, Peshmerga, chronicles Lévy's experience at the front lines of the Kurds' defense against the Islamic State. It was released in June 2016 and was featured as a special selection at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.