Axel is a biologist and a physician committed to ethical reflection; Jean-François is a journalist, a man of the media and an agitator of ideas. Even though they are brothers, they hardly knew each other before writing this book. Brought up in a catholic environment, they have turned into fierce agnostics, yet both of them have stayed obsessed with the quest for meaning.
This book recalls their memories with a certain tenderness and the lucidity of the intellectuals they have become. It deals with two youths separated because of the war, with growing up in the France of the wireless and the reconstruction, with their parents and their brother Olivier, with their first political choices and their great disillusionments of adulthood.
In spite of everything, they stayed optimistic and extremely enthusiastic. And this is what links them, whether it is about conveying their emotions stirred by an aria, their admiration of De Gaulle, their passion for cooking – which they do themselves –, or celebrating important advances in democracy.
Sobered up from comfortable illusions and without concession to the lies about their origins, they show that being a human being is not a futile job.
A former member of the Comité National Consultatif d’Ethique, Axel Kahn is the director of the Institut Cochin in Paris. He has written several best-sellers amongst which Raisonnable et Humain (Nil), Et l’homme dans tout ça ? (Nil), L’avenir n’est pas écrit (with Albert Jacquard, Bayard).
Jean-François Kahn is the director of the magazine Marianne and author of several essays of great impact, amongst which Dictionnaire incorrect (Plon), La pensée unique (Fayard), and Le camp de la guerre (Fayard).