Jean Raspail was born the son of factory manager Octave Raspail and Marguerite Chaix. He attended private Catholic colleges at Saint-Jean-de-Passy in Paris, the Institution Sainte-Marie d'Antony and the Ecole des Roches in Verneuil-sur-Avre.
During the first twenty years of his career, he traveled the world to discover populations threatened by the confrontation with modernity. In 1950–52, he led the Tierra del Fuego–Alaska car trek and in 1954, the French research expedition to the land of the Incas. In 1981, his novel Moi, Antoine de Tounens, roi de Patagonie ('I, Antoine of Tounens, King of Patagonia'), won the Grand Prix du Roman (award for a novel) of the Académie française.
His traditional Catholicism serves as an inspiration for many of his utopian works, in which the ideologies of Communism and Liberalism are shown to fail, and a Catholic monarchy is restored. In the novel Sire, a French king is crowned in Reims in February 1999, the 18-year-old Philippe Pharamond de Bourbon, a direct descendant of the last French kings.
Raspail's seminal work is The Camp of the Saints (1973). In it, he predicted the overwhelming collapse of Western civilization in a 'tidal wave' of Third World immigration. Today, the book is popular among immigration reductionists, and has been reprinted by John Tanton's The Social Contract Press. After Camp of the Saints, Raspail wrote many successful novels, including North, Sire and The Fisher's Ring. He fits into the family of novelists like Roger Nimier, Dino Buzzati and Michel Déon.
An article which he wrote in Le Figaro on 17 June 2004, entitled "The Fatherland Betrayed by the Republic", in which he criticized the French immigration policy, was sued by International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism on the grounds of "incitement to racial hatred", but the action was turned down by the court on 28 October.
In 1970 the Académie française awarded Raspail its Jean-Walther Prize for the whole of his work. In 2009, the Editions of Methuselah rewarded him the Wartburg Literary Award for the whole of his work.
- Terre de feu - Alaska (Land of Fire - Alaska) (1952) - adventure writing
- Terres et Peuples Incas (Inca Lands and Peoples) (1955)
- Le Vent des Pins (1958), translated as Welcome Honorable Visitors: a novel by Jean Stewart (Putnam, 1960)
- Terres Saintes et Profanes (Lands Holy and Profane) (1960)
- Les Veuves de Santiago (The Widows of Santiago) (1962)
- Hong-Kong, Chine en sursis (Hong Kong, A Reprieve for China) (1963)
- Secouons le cocotier (Let's Shake the Coconut Tree) (1966) - travel writing
- Secouons le cocotier : 2, Punch Caraïbe (Let's Shake the Coconut Tree 2: Caribbean Punch)(1970) - travel writing
- Bienvenue Honorables Visiteurs (le Vent des pins) (Welcome Honorable Visitors) (1970) - novel
- Le Tam-Tam de Jonathan (Jonathan's Drum) (1971) - nouvelles
- L'Armada de la Dernière Chance (Last-Chance Armada) (1972)
- Le Camp des Saints (1973), translated as The Camp of the Saints by Norman Shapiro (Scribner, 1975; The Social Contract Press, 1995, ISBN 1-881780-07-4) - novel
- La Hache des Steppes (The Steppes Axe) (1974)
- Journal Peau Rouge (Red Skin Journal) (1975)
- Nuage Blanc et les Peaux-Rouges d'aujourd'hui (White Cloud and the Redskins of Today) (1975) - by Aliette and Jean Raspail
- Le Jeu du Roi (The King's Game) (1976) - novel
- Boulevard Raspail (Raspail Boulevard) (1977) - columns
- Les Peaux-rouges aujourd'hui (Redskins Today) (1978)
- Septentrion (North) (1979) - novel
- Bleu caraïbe et citrons verts : mes derniers voyages aux Antilles (Caribbean Blue and Green Lemons: My Last Trips to the Antilles) (1980)
- Les Antilles, d'île en île (The Antilles, From Island to Island) (1980)
- Moi, Antoine de Tounens, roi de Patagonie (I, Antoine of Tounens, King of Patagonia) (1981) - novel
- Les Hussards : histoires exemplaires (The Hussars: Representative Stories) (1982)
- Les Yeux d'Irène (Irene's Eyes) (1984) - novel
- Le Président (The President) (1985) - novel
- Qui se souvient des hommes... (1986), translated as Who Will Remember the People...: A Novel. Translated by Jeremy Leggatt (Mercury House, 1988, ISBN 0-916515-42-7) - novel. UK paperback published under alternative title The People (1988).
- L'Île bleue (1988), translated as Blue Island: A Novel by Jeremy Leggatt (Mercury House, 1991, ISBN 0-916515-99-0)
- Pêcheurs de Lune (Moon Fishers) (1990)
- Sire (Sire) (1990) - novel
- Vive Venise (Long Live Venice) (1992) - by Aliette and Jean Raspail
- Sept cavaliers quittèrent la ville au crépuscule par la porte de l'Ouest qui n'était plus gardée (Seven Knights Left the City at Dusk through the Western Gate, Which Was No Longer Guarded) (1993) - novel (commonly called Sept cavaliers...)
- L'Anneau du pêcheur (The Ring of the Fisherman) (1995) - novel
- Hurrah Zara ! (Hooray Zara!) (1998) - novel
- Le Roi au-delà de la mer (The King Over the Water) (2000) - novel
- Adiós, Tierra del Fuego (Goodbye, Tierra del Fuego) (2001) - travel writing
- Le son des tambours sur la neige et autres nouvelles d'ailleurs (The Sound of Drums on Snow, and Other News from Elsewhere) (2002)
- Les Royaumes de Borée (The Kingdoms of Borée) (2003) - novel
- En canot sur les chemins d'eau du roi, une aventure en Amérique (2005) - travel writing
- "The Traditionalism of Jean Raspail" at the Wayback Machine (archived June 27, 2007) John Tanton in The Social Contract Press (Winter 1994)
- "An Interview With Jean Raspail" at the Wayback Machine (archived September 28, 2007) by Katharine Betts in The Social Contract Press (Winter 1994)
- "The Fatherland Betrayed by The Republic" by Jean Raspail in Le Figaro magazine (France, 17 June 2004)