Public Enemies and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $17.00
  • Save: $3.43 (20%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Public Enemies: Dueling W... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: exlibrary softcover book, usual library markings. and stickers has some reader wear,
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Public Enemies: Dueling Writers Take On Each Other and the World Paperback – January 11, 2011


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.57
$4.97 $0.01

Harlequin Britain by John O'Brien
Harlequin Britain by John O'Brien
Learn more about the emergence of pantomime in 18th century England and its effects on British culture. See full description | See similar books
$13.57 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Public Enemies: Dueling Writers Take On Each Other and the World + Platform + The Elementary Particles
Price for all three: $39.22

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two of France's most polarizing writers give free rein to their intellectual preoccupations, caprices--and egos--as they spar, in a fiery exchange of letters, over Judaism, morality, political commitment, postcommunist Russia, and their own celebrity. Philosopher Lévy (Barbarism with a Human Face) and novelist Houellebecq (The Elementary Particles) draw on an array of sources for their discussions, such as Celine, Comte, Spinoza, and Hugo, but repeatedly throughout the book it is the correspondents themselves who emerge as the preferred subject matter. Both discuss at length their apparent vilification at the hands of the media and this self-absorption threatens to capsize more interesting discussions about writing and the relationship between art and life. (Still their mutual ribbing delights; Houellebecq to Lévy: "A philosopher without an original idea but with excellent contacts, you are, in addition, the creator behind the most preposterous film in the history of cinema.") Nonetheless, there is an undeniable pleasure in being privy to this conversation between these two outsize personalities. (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Bernard-Henri Lévy is a philosopher, journalist, activist, and filmmaker. He was hailed by Vanity Fair magazine as “Superman and prophet: we have no equivalent in the United States.” Among his dozens of books are American Vertigo, Barbarism with a Human Face, Who Killed Daniel Pearl? and Left in Dark Times. His writing has appeared in a wide range of publications throughout Europe and the United States. 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.

Michel Houellebecq has won the prestigious Prix Novembre in France as well as the lucrative International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. He lives in Ireland.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (January 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812980786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812980783
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ulrich on February 17, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
As one of Houellebecq's admirers, I couldn't pass this up. You could hardly take two more opposite public personalities than Houellebecq and BHL. Yet they also have many similarities. Both are outsiders relative to French literary/political orthodoxy, which (in my view) tends to be painfully conformist and insipid. Both come across, for most people, as rather repugnant in many respects. And most importantly, both are extremely intelligent writers who match hyper-sensitivity with tremendous force of ideas.

BHL, who can be crudely described as a self-promoting, sanctimonious French neo-conservative (indeed he's a Jewish intellectual who has become a relentless advocate for forceful intervention on human rights grounds), is something of a revelation here. His views are extremely irritating. His public promotion reeks of PT Barnum. Yet he writes about his father's life with a cool, deadpan intensity that, in a few pages, is a more intense and moving narrative than the vast majority of acclaimed social realist novels. He's one of those writers who, even when you disagree with everything he says, has a way of bringing you to a deeper understanding of things through critical engagement. Very engaging.

Houellebecq puts on his usual bathetic show of iconoclastic force, and by sheer nihilistic bravado tends to outdo the more constrained BHL. But again, much of the petulance is given force by personal detail. To take one example, Houellebecq defends himself against BHL's charge that he is insufficiently committed to the accomplishments of the French resistance, specifically the random killing of a Nazi officer in a subway.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By herbert west on June 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
I approached this book naively (having read a little of Houellebecq's fiction, and knowing nothing about BHL except that he's married to the lead actress from "Pauline at the Beach" - not Pauline, but the older one who wants to "burn with love"). Initially, the terms of the "debate" were unclear to me, and anyone would agree that H's intro isn't much help ("We have contributed nothing to the electro-pop revival in France. We're not even mentioned in the credits of 'Ratatouille'") - maybe you're assumed to know something about both authors from the outset. It's interesting, though, how the real "terms of the debate" gradually emerge - nucleating, in particular, around the hypothetical question of whether one would choose to murder a German officer in occupied France - and I'm sure any reader could learn a lot about his/her own tendencies over the course of the book (actually I guess that's the whole point). Personally I became increasingly annoyed by BHL's recurrent bouts of sanctimony, while I felt that Houellebecq (who has the huge advantage of possessing a sense of humor) made a strong case for his seemingly pessimistic worldview - c.f. recent novel that ends with the main character marinating in a puddle of brine - as a sort of humanism, a la Sartre. But many people's sympathies will swing the opposite way, no doubt. I should add that the exchange-of-letters format is necessarily a little stilted, in my view. That's about my only complaint.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Griffes on March 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm enjoying this book because it flows all over from philosophy to family and from America, through Ireland, France and Russia. It is an enjoyable read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
92 of 126 people found the following review helpful By R. Marshall on January 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
A fun read if you are so inclined to actually study both sides of an issue without the time constraints of a two-minute cable news debate.

Since political discourse in the United States has become so profit-driven, the chances of such a book happening here (between known American political personalities) are pretty much zero.

Rush couldn't correspond with John Stewart because it would be "beneath him," just like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't appear in the same movie back in their heyday, because one wouldn't give top billing to the other.

Each political voice here in America is a business enterprise, not a true intellectual interested in debate for the sake of bettering the nation. It is all for profit, not for the people.

It is sad time for the world, but this book offers a small glimmer of hope that some people, in some places, still want to better themselves.
6 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By kaioatey on May 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
A book like this can only happen in France which has always been fertile ground for celebrity intellectuals, where a narcissistic novelist can think of himself as the "public enemy" of his critics, publishers, competitors and readers. Although this book says much about France & its cultural life, it also reveals something about how the public intellectual (ever in the limelight of TV shows, literary magazines and gossip websites) views himself. How the public informs the inner, and vice versa.

I, at least, see the book as an exercise in mentorship. BHL takes under his wings a wretched, paranoid, hurting Houllebecq and tries to help him dispel the demons of hatred, contempt, depression(ism) and self-pity. The touch is ever so light, never patronizing but rather shines with generosity -even nobility - of spirit even when embedded in (somewhat) self-conscious charisma. after all, the giving part comes from someone who can afford to give, someone who loves (and this endeared him to me), Piero della Francesca. Houllebecq's gravitas, on the other hand, reads more like bathos, especially when it comes to the tortured view of himself as a writer/poet. As evident from Elementary Particles, H's inner space has collapsed to a singularity threatening to disappear into disconnection and madness. BHL counters this with:

"..there have been two things I felt were worth living for: first, love (and I mean this in the sense of loving women) and, second, writing, just writing, spending nights, days, and more nights at my word-kit... I believe that they come down to the same thing. Deep down, fundamentally, they are the same thing.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Public Enemies: Dueling Writers Take On Each Other and the World
This item: Public Enemies: Dueling Writers Take On Each Other and the World
Price: $13.57
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?