A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962
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Positively 6 stars,
Alistair Horne is one of the preeminent historians of the 20th Century. I've read several of his books, including the entire trilogy on the three Franco - German wars. I've found each of his books excellent, but this one will always rate as his best - for the complexity of the material that he has mastered. In the preface is an impressive list of the principal actors interviewed. He acknowledged that it is virtually impossible to have seen the "entire picture," and suggests that no one will. He combines the specific information on the war with an overall splendid erudition. He tells the drama lucidly, with irony where appropriate, as it is so often. I first read this book over 30 years ago, and was even more impressed the second time around.
He draws you in immediately with the ironic title to his first chapter; a quote from former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, that Setif was "A Town of No Great Interest." It was in this non-descript town that the native Muslim...
Description : The Algerian War lasted from 1954 to 1962. It caused the fall of six French governments, led to the collapse of the Fourth Republic, and came close to provoking a civil war on French soil. More than a million Muslim Algerians died in the conflict, and as many European settlers were driven into exile. Above all, the war was marked by an unholy marriage of revolutionary terror and state torture.
At the time, this brutal, intractable conflict seemed like a French affair. But from the perspective of half a century, it looks less like the last colonial war than the first postmodern one: a full-dress rehearsal for the amorphous struggle that convulsed the Balkans in the 1990s and that now ravages the Middle East, struggles in which religion, nationalism, imperialism, and terrorism assume unparalleled degrees of intensity.