Jeremy Harding writes:
Regis Debray has led the fullest of lives, embroiled in ideology, controversy and action. As a young man at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, he sat at the feet of Louis Althusser; he trained in the use of assault weapons with Fidel Castro; he trod the thankless Bolivian forests with Che Guevara and served nearly four years in jail for his trouble. In Chile he was taken up by Salvador Allende and Pablo Neruda. Ten years later he became an adviser at the Elysée to François Mitterrand, his country’s only postwar socialist president. He is a revolutionary Third Worldist turned revisionist, turned Gaullist – his Gaullism a lament for the absence of credible leaders anywhere on the European horizon. He is, above all, a sceptic sorting through the ruins of his former world-historical ambitions, though from time to time the eyes of an unreconstructed optimist gleam behind the mask of the disabused older man.