Biography

Portrait de Peter Gumbel

I'm an English-speaking journalist who loves France. I’ve been writing for the American press for more than 25 years. I’ve been based in Paris since 2002.

My career started at Reuters news agency on London's famed Fleet Street, in the days when it was still the center of British journalism. Reuters hired me out of university and posted me 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, where I served as the paper's bureau chief for four years until 2000.

In Paris, I’ve worked for Time and Fortune magazines, covering the European economy and business.

Since 2005, I’ve also been teaching journalism at Sciences Po, and most recently I spent two years, from November 2010 to July 2012, working in the university’s administration, including nine months as the Communications Director.

Grasset published my first French essay, French Vertigo, in October 2006. My second essay, On achève bien les écoliers, came out in August 2010. It’s my examination of the humiliating school culture in France that I believe is a cause of the country’s educational troubles. A digital version is available in English, under the title They Shoot School Kids, Don’t They? My latest essay, France’s Got Talent (in French: “Elite Academy”), is a critique of the pervasive French culture of elitism, and its unfortunate consequences.

The high point of my career to date was my 1988-1992 assignment in Russia. I covered the rise and fall of President Gorbachev, culminating in the 1991 coup against him and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union.

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

I took a year out from print journalism in 2000 to help found an Internet startup, Business.com.

Please check out my Facebook page for reviews and other updates.