How in the world does America look to foreign eyes? Over the past year, preeminent French philosopher and writer Bernard-Henri Lévy has been travelling through America, visiting its prisons and mega-churches, its high-rises and military facilities, its brothels and malls. Starting in May, 2005, and for much of this year, The Atlantic Monthly will record his myriad observations, establishing a cultural map of America at the dawn of the twenty-first century. In early 2006, Random House will publish the entire series as a book featuring previously unpublished chapters.
On April 6, New York Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks will ask Bernard-Henri Lévy to report on what struck, irked, and puzzled him in America. Lévy's shrewd observations represent a modern-day version of Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America."
Influenced by Kerouac's "road literature," Bernard-Henri Lévy's 15,000-mile journey takes him to cities big and small; political rallies on the east coast; presidential debates in Arizona; quail hunting in Alabama; a NASCAR race; an Indian reservation; a strip bar in Vegas; the Mayo Clinic; the Mall of America; and a series of interviews with Richard Pearl, Rick Santorum, Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama, Eliot Sptizer, Samuel Huntington, George Soros, Sharon Stone, Pearl Jam, Woody Allen and many more.
Bernard-Henri Lévy is France's leading philosopher. He is the author of thirty books, including Barbarism with a Human Face; War, Evil and the End of History and Who Killed Daniel Pearl? Lévy has also served on diplomatic missions for the French government, most recently heading a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan in the wake of the war against the Taliban.
David Brooks is an Op-Ed Columnist for The New York Times. He is also the author of Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There and On Paradise Drive: How We live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense.