A Savage War of Peace

A Savage War of Peace

Algeria, 1954-1962

Book - 1978
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Publisher: New York : Viking Press, 1978, c1977.
ISBN: 9780670619641
Branch Call Number: 965.04 H815s
Characteristics: 604 p., [8] leaves of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.


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Aug 31, 2018

“It was, in effect, first and foremost, an anti-colonial war of national liberation.”
While long (close to 600 pages) and dense, this is an exhaustively researched and thoroughly engaging history of the Algerian war for independence from the French. Alistair Horne excels at giving voice to all the participants and in withholding judgment while still having a strong point of view. It's a war that has a great deal of contemporary resonance and my edition has the blurb "On the reading list of President Bush and the US military." I imagine Bush had it stacked between his Bible and the Torture Memos. Since it was both a revolution and something of a civil war, it bear comparison with both Vietnam, where the French were before we were, and Iraq. Iconic French intellectuals like Sartre, De Beauvoir, and Camus, who grew up in Algeria, have supporting roles. The film "Battle for Algiers," which Horne references, is required viewing.
"You have to remember Arab mentality-to impress the Arabs, you've got to make a solemn performance of killing a man."-French OAS leader

May 21, 2018

Exhaustively researched and written in Sir Alistair Horne's elegant yet accessible style, this is an essential read for those interested in the French, Algerian and North African political and military turmoil of this period in history. The detail horrifies but brings to mind that recent atrocities of ISIS and other such groups had non-religious antecedents. Particularly interesting is the account of the formation, inner workings and atrocities of the OAS. Above all, the author writes with a balanced view, pointing the finger only after examining the causes and roots of the actions.


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