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André Schiffrin (June 14, 1935 – December 1, 2013)[1] was a French-born American author, publisher and socialist.

André Schiffrin
Born(1935-06-14)June 14, 1935
Paris, France
DiedDecember 1, 2013(2013-12-01) (aged 78)
Paris, France
OccupationWriter and editor
Alma materYale University
University of Cambridge
Maria Elena de la Iglesia (m. 1961–2013)
ChildrenAnya Schiffrin, Natalia Schiffrin


Schiffrin was born in Paris, the son of Jacques Schiffrin, a Russian Jew who emigrated to France and briefly enjoyed success there as publisher of the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, which he founded, and which was bought by Gallimard, until he was dismissed because of the anti-Jewish laws enforced by the Vichy regime. Jacques Schiffrin and his family had to flee and eventually found refuge in the United States. As the younger Schiffrin recalls in his autobiography, A Political Education: Coming of Age in Paris and New York (2007), he thus experienced life in two countries as a child of a European Jewish intellectual family.

As an anti-Communist socialist, Schiffrin opposed both the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and the U.S. war in Vietnam. He was one of the founders of the organization that became Students for a Democratic Society.[2] In 1968, he signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.[3]

Schiffrin was the managing director of publishing at Pantheon Books, where he was partially responsible for introducing the works of Pasternak, Foucault and others to American readers. Schiffrin's 28-year period at Pantheon, a division of Random House, came to an end in 1990 when CEO Alberto Vitale sacked him because of a conflict over the division's losses and the downsizing which Vitale wished to make.[1]

In 1992 Schiffrin, with former Pantheon colleague Diane Wachtell, established the non-profit The New Press,[1] explaining that he did so because of economic trends that prevented him from publishing the serious books he thought should be made available. Schiffrin discussed what he regards as the crisis in western publishing in his book The Business of Books: How the International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing and Changed the Way We Read (2000).

In 2011, Schiffrin was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by the French government.[4]

Schiffrin's daughter, journalist Anya Schiffrin, is married to the economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz. His daughter Natalia is married to international lawyer Philippe Sands.

Schiffrin died on December 1, 2013 in Paris from pancreatic cancer.[1]


  • L'édition sans éditeurs (1999) ISBN 2-913372-02-3
  • The Business of Books: How the International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing and Changed the Way We Read (2000) ISBN 1-85984-362-X (Hardback ISBN 1-85984-763-3)
  • Le contrôle de la parole (2005) ISBN 2-913372-35-X
  • A Political Education: Coming of Age in Paris and New York (Melville House Publishing, 2007) ISBN 1-933633-15-8
    • Published in French as Allers-retours : Paris-New York, un itinéraire politique (2007) ISBN 2-86746-447-1
    • Published in German Paris, New York und zurück. Politische Lehrjahre eines Verlegers, translated by Andrea Marenzeller; Matthes & Seitz, Berlin 2010 ISBN 978-3-88221-685-1
  • L'argent et les mots (2010) ISBN 978-2-35872-006-9
  • Words and Money (Verso Books, 2010) ISBN 978-1-84467-680-4

Although there exist no English versions of L'édition sans éditeurs or Le contrôle de la parole, there is some overlap of content between The Business of Books and the former.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Robert D. McFadden "André Schiffrin, Publishing Force and a Founder of New Press, Is Dead at 78", New York Times, December 1, 2013
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" January 30, 1968 New York Post
  4. ^ Delattre, François. "André SCHIFFRIN Awarded Chevalier in the Order of the Legion of Honor". French Embassy in the United States. Retrieved December 12, 2013.

External linksEdit