The Will to See

Bernard-Henri Levy


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Yale University Press
14 February 2023
ISBN: 9780300268102
208 pages

From the publisher

An unflinching look at the most urgent humanitarian crises around the globe, from one of the world's most daring philosopher-reporters

"Call[s] on people not just to see the world, but to be moved and interested by what they find there, and to do something about it."-Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic

"Fierce and elegant, Levy's musings will be of profound interest to any reader of modern continental philosophy."-Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Over the past fifty years, renowned public intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy has reported extensively on human rights abuses around the world. This new book follows the intrepid Levy into eight international hotspots-Nigeria; Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan; Ukraine; Somalia; Bangladesh; Lesbos, Greece; Libya; and Afghanistan-that have escaped global attention or active response.

In a deeply personal introduction, Levy recounts the intellectual journey that led him to advocacy, arguing that a truly humanist philosophy must necessarily lead to action in defense of the most vulnerable. In the second section, he reports on the eight investigative trips he undertook just before or during the coronavirus pandemic, from the massacred Christian villages in Nigeria to a dangerously fragile Afghanistan on the eve of the Taliban talks, from an anti-Semitic ambush in Libya to the overrun refugee camp on the island of Lesbos. Part manifesto, part missives from the field, this new book is a stirring rebuke to indifference and an exhortation to level our gaze at those most hidden from us.