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André Kaspi, one of the best specialists of contemporary America, proposes a trip through amercian society. A Professor of History at the Sorbonne (University-Paris 1) he has notably published Les Américains (two volumes), Franklin Roosevelt, La Guerre de Sécession, Kennedy, La Peine de Mort aux États-Unis.

Darryl Pinckney's writing has been recognised for its daring, its eloquence, and its ties to the African-American literary past. His first novel, High Cotton, an autobiographical examination of a young writer's journey from the Midwest to expatriate Paris, was published in 1992. Pinckney's most recent book, Sold and Gone, reviews the African-American literary tradition through the writings of Charles Chesnutt, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Ishmael Reed, and Toni Morrison. Pinckney has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction. He also received the Harold D. Vursell Award for Distinguished Prose from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1994. Pinckney was a Hodder Fellow at Princeton and has taught in the Afro-American Studies department at Harvard and in the School of Arts at Columbia, where he was educated.

William Pfaff is a contributor to The New York Review of Books and has been an internationally syndicated columnist for The International Herald Tribune for many years. Between 1971 and 1992 his 'Reflections' on international politics and society were regularly published in The New Yorker magazine. He has published eight books on contemporary history. His most recent one, The Bullet's Song, deals with violence and romanticism. He is currently working on a book about secular political utopianism and the current international crisis. He lives in Paris.

Jake Lamar is the author of the memoir Bourgeois Blues and five novels: The Last Integrationist, Close to the Bone, If Six Were Nine, Rendezvous Eighteenth and most recently Ghosts of Saint-Michel. Several of his books have been translated into French. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, he graduated from Harvard University and then spent six years writing for Time magazine. In 1993, he went to Paris intending to stay for a year; he now lives there full-time with his wife.

The New York Review of Books panel on Obama