Countless biographers have tried to unveil the real Jean-Paul Sartre without his consent or cooperation. Only John Gerassi—the "non-godson" of Sartre, an atheist—was honored with the responsibility of being Sartre's official biographer. After drafting the commission with Sartre on the back of a menu at La Coupole, Gerassi recorded over one hundred hours of interviews with him between 1974 and 1979, and another hundred hours with Sartre's friends, colleagues, and enemies. Gerassi also immersed himself in Sartre's literary, philosophical, and personal writings. Gerassi had access to all of Sartre's files, unpublished manuscripts, and extensive notes for planned but undelivered lectures. Simone de Beauvoir gave many of Sartre's unpublished letters to Gerassi as well. Sartre trusted the integrity of Gerassi so completely that he considered Gerassi's biography to be the continuation of his own autobiography, Les mots. As a personal friend, Gerassi writes with advantages shared by no other biographer of Sartre.