Alain Besançon is a cultural critic and historian specialized in the Soviet Union, totalitarianism and interreligious dialogue. He has been a lecturer and researcher at the école des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales since 1965, and has been a member of the philosophy department of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques of the Intitut de France since 1996. He was also a guest lecturer at various renowned universities, and he is an editor for the journal Cahiers du monde russe. Among his best-known works are L’image interdite, une histoire intellectuelle de l’iconoclasme (1994), Les malheurs du siècle: sur le communisme, le nazisme et l’unicité de la Shoah (1998) and the essay Cinq personnages en quête d’amour. Amour et religion (2010). In 2008, he published his first novel : émile et les menteurs.