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LIVE from the NYPL: American Vertigo: Bernard-Henri Lévy and Tina Brown

January 26, 2006

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What can a Frenchman tell us about America? Alexis de Tocqueville told us a lot, some 150 years ago. Today, another Frenchman, writer-philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, has retraced the footsteps of de Tocqueville and gives us his account of contemporary America. Tina Brown, former editor of The New Yorker and host of "Topic A" on CNBC will grill BHL and ask France's most provocative thinker:

Will Paris burn again?
Will American Muslims soon be aflame like the French?
What's left of the American Dream?
Is America the laboratory or the grave of tomorrow's democracy?
Are Europe and the United States headed for divorce or condemned to love one another?
And, in the end, which is greater: the vertigo of the French writer who travels through every one of this mad magnificent country's fifty states; or the vertigo of Americans themselves as they stare into the abyss of their new destiny?

About Bernard-Henry Lévy

Bernard-Henri Lévy is one of France's leading philosophers and one of the most esteemed writers in Europe. After starting his career as a war reporter for Combat the legendary newspaper founded by Albert Camus during the Nazi occupation of France, Lévy became famous as the founder of the New Philosophers group.

Lévy is the author of 30 books, including works of philosophy, fiction, and biography and is an activist and filmmaker. His books include Barbarism with a Human Face, Reflections on War, Century of Sartre, Evil and the End of History, Who Killed Daniel Pearl? and American Vertigo (Random House, Jan 06). His films include the documentaries Bosna! and A Day in the Death of Sarajevo. Lévy is co-founder of the antiracist group SOS Racism and has 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.

During 2005 Bernard-Henri Lévy traveled throughout the United States in the footsteps of another great Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, whose Democracy in America remains the most influential book ever written about our country. The result is his new book, American Vertigo, a fascinating, fresh look at a country we sometimes only think we know. Through interview-based portraits across the spectrum of the American people, from prison guards to clergymen, from a strip bar in Vegas to the Mayo Clinic, from Norman Mailer to Barack Obama, from Sharon Stone to Richard Holbrooke, both the grandeur and the hellish dimensions of American life are unflinchingly explored.

About Tina Brown

Tina Brown began her career in journalism writing for the London Sunday Times, The New Statesman and The Sunday Telegraph. Ms. Brown's editorial reputation for revitalizing publications was established at the Tatler magazine in London where she was named editor-in-chief when she was 25 years old. She then moved to the United States and was editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair which under her direction won four National Magazine Awards. Ms. Brown herself was named Advertising Age's first Magazine Editor of the Year.

In 1992 Ms. Brown became editor of The New Yorker magazine where she raised the circulation and the magazine was honored with over 20 awards. Ms. Brown received the National Press Foundation's 1992 Editor of the Year Award. In 1998, she founded Talk Media with partners Harvey and Bob Weinstein of Miramax Films launching Talk magazine and the Talk Miramax Books Company.

Presently, she writes a weekly column in The Washington Post and until recently hosted CNBC?s Topic A with Tina Brown, a weekly series which featured opinionated guests discussing and debating provocative topics in the arenas of business, politics and culture. Tina is writing a book about the legacy of Diana, Princess of Wales, which will examine the effect she had on the monarchy, the public and the press to be published in 2007.