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The Impostor: BHL In Wonderland - Bernard Henri Levy (Counterblasts) (Verso Counterblasts) Paperback – 28 Feb 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (28 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844677486
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844677481
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.3 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,228,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A familiar figure in the celebrity media, friend of the stars, big bosses and politicians of Left and Right, accompanied or not by Arielle Dombasle, BHL appears, in this effective investigation, as an intellectual with an oversized ego whose commitments serve his personal interests. --Agence France Presse

Cruel enough to be funny, serious enough to be credible … The angle and method of the two journalists has the merit of simplicity: to take Bernard-Henri Lévy at face value, in other words to read his books, articles, interviews, to watch his films, to listen to his public talks and interventions in the media. --Télérama

About the Author

JADE LINDGAARD is a journalist for the news site Mediapart, and she coedited La France Invisible, with Stephane Beaud and Joseph Confavreux (2006); XAVIER DE LA PORTE is a journalist for the radio station France Culture.

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BHL is a quintessentially French media figure, and no Briton or American similarly struts like a colossus through TV studios, news magazine editorial offices, and the book publishing world. Certainly, no Anglo-Saxon media figure would dare adopt a Byronic persona like BHL, with white shirt open to the waist, long hair, and bling jewellery. And even less is there an Anglo-Saxon journalist who could pick up the phone to the president and successfully persuade him to start a war (as Bernard-Henri Lévy did with President Sarkozy to initiate the NATO war against Libya).
But it would be a mistake to think only the French could enjoy this book, which deflates perhaps the biggest ego in the western world. The authors wittily demolish the pretensions of this immensely powerful figure, who also has a following in the United States, putting his life and writings under the microscope. This is a very enjoyable read, well-translated from the French.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gadabout unmasked 4 April 2012
By Wayne Dynes - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In his 2010 book "De la guerre en philosophie," the French writer and gadabout Bernard-Henri Lévy made a huge gaffe. In attacking Immanuel Kant, he cited the "Paraguayan lectures" of a fake philosopher, Jean-Baptiste Botul. In fact, Botul (creator of Botulisme) was the brainchild of Frédéric Pagès, a journalist with the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné. For a time, the blunder resonated in Paris, where Mr. Lévy is a ubiquitous presence on talk shows and in magazines, and is known simply as BHL

Americans are more familiar with "American Vertigo," his clumsy and tone-deaf effort to emulate Alexis de Tocqueville. In 2006 Garrison Keillor wrote a telling critique in The New York Times Book Review, citing "the grandiosity of a college sophomore, a student padding out a term paper."

If BHL is not in fact an impostor, he is doing a very good imitation. How has he succeeded in this grandstanding for so many years? In brief, there are two answers: 1) he is very rich; and 2) he is a consummate networker, with many friends and supporters who can always be counted on to rise to his defense.

In this book Lindgaard and de la Porte do their best to bring BHL to book. I am not sure that they have succeeded, though clearly they deserve to.
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