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How do we explain what Perry Anderson calls “the bizarre prominence of Bernard-Henri Lévy,” easily the best-known “thinker” under sixty in France? “It would,” he continues, “be difficult to imagine a more extraordinary reversal of national standards of taste and intelligence than the attention accorded this crass booby in France’s public sphere, despite innumerable demonstrations of his inability to get a fact or an idea straight. Could such a grotesque flourish in any other major Western culture today?”

This book, based on a careful investigation comparing BHL’s words with his deeds, seeks to explore the remarkable persistence of this celebrity pseudo-philosopher since he burst onto the scene in 1977. Delving into his networks in the spheres of politics, the media and big business, Lindgaard and de la Porte reveal what the success of this three-decade long imposture tells us about the degeneration of contemporary French intellectual and cultural life.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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