Portrait de Peter Gumbel

I’m a British writer and editor based in Paris. I have spent most of my career as a journalist for US publications including the Wall Street Journal, Time, and Fortune. I am the author of four books on France, including a best-selling critique of the French education system.

My latest essay, Citizens of Everywhere, is an account of why I acquired German citizenship eighty years after my German-Jewish grandparents fled Nazi persecution and started a new life in England. It’s a European tale which explores questions of identity at a time when Germany has replaced Britain as the hope-bearer in Europe.

My career started at Reuters news agency on London's famed Fleet Street. I was soon posted to Brussels and Copenhagen.

The Wall Street Journal recruited me in 1984 as a correspondent in Bonn. I spent the next 16 years at the paper, working in New York, Moscow, Paris, Berlin, and Los Angeles.

I moved to Paris in 2002 to cover the European economy and business for Time and Fortune.

I've won a number of journalism awards, including two from the Overseas Press Club of America. In January 2006, the London-based Work Foundation named me Journalist of the Year.

I taught journalism at Sciences Po for a decade starting in 2005 and spent three years working in the university’s administration, including as the communications director.

Since 2015, I have been working as the editorial director at a global consulting firm.

Grasset published my first French book, French Vertigo, in 2006. My second, On achève bien les écoliers (They Shoot School Kids, Don’t They?), came out in 2010. It’s my examination of the demoralising French school culture, and it made the best-seller list. I followed up with two further books on French education: Elite Academy (France’s Got Talent), on the culture of elitism in higher education; and Ces écoles pas comme les autres (French School without Tears), which examines alternatives to French state schools and the lessons they could teach the system.