Jean-François Revel, whose real name is Jean-François Richard, was born on January 19, 1924. During the war he took an active role in the Resistance before publishing his first texts. Having studied at the Ecole Normale, he became a philosophy professor and taught in Algeria and then in Mexico. In 1963 he left academia to focus on a career in writing and journalism. Literary consultant and collections director at Julliard, Pauvert and Laffont, he then became the editor of the newspaper l’Express before writing for Le Point until his death in 2006.
A member of the Académie française, he authored thirty texts including: Without Marx or Jesus (Ni Marx ni Jésus, 1970), The Totalitarian Temptation (La Tentation totalitaire, 1976), How Democracies Perish (Comment les démocraties finissent, 1983), Useless Knowledge (La Connaissance inutile, 1988), The Thief in the Empty House (Le voleur dans la maison vide, 1997), The Great Parade (La Grande Parade, 2000), The Anti-American Obsession (L’Obsession anti-américaine, 2001).
Henri Astier is a journalist for the BBC in London and contributes to the Times Literary Supplement. Pierre Boncenne, an essay writer, was the editor-in-chief of Lire magazine and for a long time worked with Bernard Pivot on the television shows Apostrophes and Bouillon de culture. He authored For Jean-François Revel (Pour Jean-François Revel, Renaudot Essay Prize, 2006) and Simon Leys’ Umbrella (Parapluie de Simon Leys). Jacques Faule, formerly a curator at the French national library, is also an actor.