A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962

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Alistair Horne's book, A Savage War of Peace , is considered pretty much the definitive book on the subject. It is comprehensive, and on audio it's difficult to keep all the names straight for an American reader - everyone, after all, is either French or Algerian, and the cast of characters is huge. Successive governments, movements, splinter groups, all tussling over a patch of North Africa for eight bloody years.

At its heart, the Algerian war was a war for independence. The Algerians wanted to be independent; France didn't want them to be. But it was different from some similar colonial struggles for several reasons. France did not consider Algeria to be a colony; Algeria was considered French soil. Therefore, giving up Algeria was akin to giving up Normandy.

While Muslims in Algeria did suffer from racism and a sort of apartheid which only grew worse during the war, the Pied-Noirs "Black Feet" , or native French residents of Algeria, were another faction with interests that were not always aligned with those of their erstwhile countrymen back home.

Some of them had been living in Algeria for generations. They had mixed and complicated views of their Muslim neighbors - often they were friends and colleagues, but always there was racism and European superiority. When the war broke out, as in the Middle East, or the Balkans, people who'd lived side by side peacefully for years would suddenly turn on each other with incredible savagery. The Question The war brought out incredible savagery on all sides. The French Army, in response, began to make systematic use of torture, a scar that France has not yet healed from. The issue of torture is of course one Horne covers heavily in the book.

A Savage War of Peace

He also describes how French bureaucrats and military officers debated the nuances of what did or did not qualify as "torture," in the same sort of arid, legalistic language we have heard US officials more recently use to defend waterboarding. It's not the only thing in the book that clearly resonates today. In fact, in one of his afterwords, the author says he sent a copy of his book to the Bush White House, hoping to impress upon them the importance of not going down that path. He never received a response. The Algerian War was unquestionably a brutal one, and the catalog of atrocities committed by both sides is horrific.

Dismemberments, rape, prolonged torture, dashing babies' skulls against walls, carving out brains and guts and scattering them on the street, as well as the usual bombs left in cafes, drive-by shootings, and frequent assassinations, were constant for eight years, right up to the end when the MNA was trying to derail peace talks. Ideology Today we'd describe this as a struggle against Islamists, but while Algerian independence was clearly a Muslim movement, it wasn't that simple.

Some Muslims were loyal to France; many French were sympathetic or even outright supportive of the FLN, and the Pied-Noirs themselves were divided over the great question of Algerian independence. In fact, Islam was hardly a factor in the war at all, other than one side being predominantly Muslim. Communism was probably a stronger guiding principle for the resistance, and even communism was more of a unifying ideology than an actual motivation. The great irascible statesman, formerly a French Freedom Fighter during Nazi occupation, seemed perpetually playing both sides in the conflict between leftists who wanted to give the Algerians their independence and right-wingers who wanted Algeria to remain French.

Ultimately, De Gaulle would be responsible for cutting Algeria loose, but to this day, the author can't say for certainty what De Gaulle's intention had been from the beginning, and when or where or whether he changed his mind. But De Gaulle himself is an interesting character worthy of his own book, and his maneuvering, his tantrums, his diplomacy, and his leadership are all an intrinsic part of the Algerian War and its resolution.

The author includes several afterwords following the original publication of this book in One was in the s, after he'd been able to interview many more people who were involved in the war who he hadn't had access to when he was first writing the book. For all that, the book is almost entirely about a conflict that happened half a century ago and is of mostly historical interest now.

There are certainly things to reflect upon, in the way they have affected France and Algeria in the modern day, but that was a different world. But it is valuable history and a bloody, savage war that merits this sort of close examination. View 1 comment. Jun 23, Mikey B. So there was much that was new to me in reading this book particularly the plethora of characters introduced.

It serves once more to emphasis the evils of the entire colonial system. Some were from France but many came from Spain, Italy, and other European countries. For the most part they were kept uneducated, disenfranchised and poverty stricken.

Geography Now! Algeria

Algeria had the makings of an Apartheid society. It was thought that eventually all its inhabitants and culture were to be made entirely French. This was an illusion, but because it was thoroughly believed by many in both Algeria and France it would lead to disastrous consequences. This was a direct threat to those in France and the pieds noirs in Algeria who wanted Algerie Francaise. Algerie Francaise came to mean different things to different groups. For example moderate educated Muslims a small minority gave an interpretation much different than the pieds noirs.

To counter and combat the FLN campaign the French sent in their army. The war ranged from small isolated hamlets in the rough hinterland to the cities — and it was vicious. Both sides tortured and multilated. The psychological consequences of this spread to France when the press reported on these incidents — done by the French Army on behalf of France. The author explains very well the groups in conflict with one another. For example the French army was criticized in metropolitan France for its brutality. The army was also in a state of needing to prove itself, of not wanting to lose. France had lost in , had lost at Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam in — it did not want to undergo another humiliation.

There were starting to be sympathetic adherents in France to the FLN. As well there were thousands of Algerian workers in France. The pieds noirs in Algeria criticized the French Army for not doing enough to protect them. The gulf between pieds noirs and Muslims was widening because those who could have made a bridge were being murdered — and one could add that these murders were brutal — in order to set an example of what would happen to any who went against the FLN cause.

The pieds noirs formed their terrorist groups. And finally Charles de Gaulle was called back to power. Initially he was seen as a panacea to all these disparate groups. But de Gaulle, more than some, saw the fruitlessness of keeping Algeria in France. In Algeria was given independence. Over one million pieds noirs left and abandoned their possessions and land; most went to France. Many moderate Muslims left as well. Any one left in Algeria who had a sympathetic connection to France would be killed. This was an enlightening book that well illustrates a maxim of George Orwell that revolutions that succumb to violence cannot extricate themselves from this savage self-perpetuating cycle.

The violence and repression in Algeria continue to this day. Jan 28, Joseph rated it it was amazing Shelves: history , politics-and-economics. This is one of the best history books I've read in a long while. Horne does a masterful job of juggling the numerous actors and acronyms that populate the War of Algerian Independence.

Reading more like a textbool than many recent histories, the author does not try to string a common character through all the events, but takes instead a thorough approach to nearly every month of the eight year conflict. Horne offers a very balanced review, never favoring the Algerian French population, nor the i This is one of the best history books I've read in a long while. Horne offers a very balanced review, never favoring the Algerian French population, nor the indigenous Muslims, and likewise does not shy away from detailing the horrors perpetuated by either side.

His de Gualle is neither hero nor villain, but simply the man he was. I was very surprised at the savagery of this conflict. It's truly horrifying what the civilian population had to endure at the hands of the revolutionary FLN and the counter-revolutionary OAS.

A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962

Indiscriminate murders and revenge against suspected traitors to whichever cause one was supporting, it's remarkable the entire country of France did not suffer a nervous breakdown. Horne does an excellent job describing the various political and martial scheming that went on, including the attempted coup against de Gaulle by several high ranking generals. The factionalism of the Algerian FLN is also given a lot of exposure, particularly the various power struggles between the different revolutionary leaders, and also between those FLN members inside Algeria and those in exile. He has a book called in English "The Algerian Chronicles," and when I started flipping through it, I realized I didn't know hardly any of the names nor the events behind the Algerian conflict.

After reading this book, it will be interesting to see how Camus weaves his support for the Algerian French population though the vestiges of French colonialism and paternalism. Horne frequents the musings of Camus and Sartre and de Beauvoir throughout, and it is now easy to see where some of the friction between Camus and the French Left came from.

If anything, Camus is proven here to be just a man after all, as flawed as any of us. The only criticism I have of this book is that the author uses many French phrases and quotes without giving their English translation. My rudimentary French was able to decipher most of them, but some were too idiomatic to figure out. Likewise, a glossary of people would have been helpful as well. Generally, I was able to keep this huge cast of people straight with respect to who they were and what they did, but a number of times I had to search for their earlier appearances to remind myself of their significance.

This edition is updated with new information on Algeria since the first printing, which helps to close out many of the "What ever happened to? Mar 19, Jeremy Allan rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction-and-memoir. This book, like all histories, has its biases and its imperfections. Despite that, A Savage War of Peace maintains a reasonable level of objectivity in relating the happenings of a war rarely described in neutral terms. For example, I say "a war," even though I was informed by a French colleague yesterday that many French historians prefer to avoid that word, choosing instead to refer to "the events" in Algeria.

Such a position, I believe, illustrates clearly that even descriptions meant to appe This book, like all histories, has its biases and its imperfections. Such a position, I believe, illustrates clearly that even descriptions meant to appear prudent are in actually steeped in ideology and prejudice—how else could over seven years and arguably over a million casualties be considered simply "events? Its limitations must be acknowledged—this is the work of a Francophilic Englishman, whose bias is towards recounting the maneuvers of great men.

Still, where it succeeds, it does so brilliantly; it painstakingly states and restates what can only be described as fundamental misunderstandings by the French about the realities of their colonial government of Algeria, not to mention the motives of the various peoples who opposed them. And so I think two of this editions books blurbs are as germane as anything else that could be said: "Anyone interested in Iraq should read this book immediately. Ricks, The Washington Post "[This] universally acclaimed history Mar 10, Andrea rated it really liked it Shelves: colonialism , struggle , africa , race.

I knew almost nothing of the war of liberation in Algeria, and this was an enormous introduction pages worth , bringing immense satisfaction at finishing it. It is brilliantly crafted history, slow going but fairly enthralling none the less, and a wonderful management of detail. It is as balanced and critical as the author can make it I think, exploring the critical events and the political machinations of the war on both sides. For an aerial view of everything that happened, explored with I knew almost nothing of the war of liberation in Algeria, and this was an enormous introduction pages worth , bringing immense satisfaction at finishing it.

For an aerial view of everything that happened, explored with all the benefits of both hindsight as well as the immediacy of interviews with almost all of the key figures surviving on both sides, this is a good place to start in understanding the conflict. And it is full of sidelights of the humorous and pulpy details of plots and spies and bungling that I confess with a sense of almost shame, I enjoyed immensely. For all that it is written by a European of neither France nor Algeria , and despite his best efforts and his deep critique of France's role, it is still the French and the pied noir that it understands best, while Algerians themselves remain for the most part inscrutable and 'other'.

I am reading now the journal of the author Mouloud Feraoun, which has broken my heart in two and left me far more critical of Horne's account because it exemplifies what is missing -- the understanding of a colonised people finally standing up, along with the day to day fear, violence, death, descriptions of torture, hunger, loss, conflicted feelings about the FLN even while fully supporting their struggle.

Three things primarily struck me in reflecting back on it. First, how little I know of French history and how hugely important Algeria was in its history, as Horne summarises: The war in Algeria -- lasted almost eight years, toppled six French Prime Ministers and the Fourth Republic itself. It came close to bringing down General de Gaulle and his Fifth Republic and confronted metropolitan France with the threat of civil war. The second is how closely it parallels the settling of the United States, and how much the white mobs in defense of their land and their privilege reminded me of the white mobs I have studied in the US On the French policy of 'pacification': Said Bugeaud in a renowned statement before the National Assembly in "Wherever there is fresh water and fertile land, there one must locate colons , without concerning oneself to whom these lands belong.

Part of that was the destruction of anything Algerian that could offer up resistance, primarily the policy of breaking up great traditional families because we found them to be forces of resistance. We did not realise that in suppressing the forces of resistance in this fashion we were also suppressing our means of action. The result is that we are today confronted by a sort of human dust on which we have no influence and in which movements take place which are to us unknown.

Dust in the eyes of the oppressor, a terrifying analogy, for who cares what you do with dust? Lives shorn of culture and mutual support and richness in the experience of the oppressed, though of course they strive to conserve, protect, rebuild what they can. The third is how this conflict, and that in Indochina, flowed naturally from World War II and calls into question much of what I thought I knew.

It reverse polarities, putting people who might have been my heroes for their role in the resistance, for their sufferings in the concentration camps, in an alliance with fascists. I cannot fundamentally understand it, just as I cannot understand the oppression of the Palestinians by Israelis. This is a long list. They took what they had learned in fighting fascism in Europe and applied it to the oppression of both the Vietnamese and the Algerians fighting a war of liberation, and they were both efficient and murderous. It is not just that they were heroes of the resistance, these men appropriated symbols of uprising from their history, drawing parallels from the French Revolition and the Paris Commune.

It hurts me to think of the Commune in this fashion : At Ortiz's "command post" there was chaos reminiscent of the headier days of the Paris Commune; everybody talked, gave orders and made speeches in an atmosphere dense with Bastos cigarette-smoke, the smell of sweat and beer. In the street below some young members of the FNF began spontaneously to prise up paving-stones and create a barricade In thinking about the turn to armed uprising as opposed to non-violence which I think we tend to support more now on this end of history, both for philosophical and well as very practical reasons as the terrain of war has shifted , for those emerging from the celebrated armed struggle against German fascism, what could be more obvious or natural?

How could they just return to be oppressed by the same people they had fought alongside of in a war for freedom and justice? This is again another parallel with returning soldiers of colour to the US no longer content to put up with second-class citizenship. This same war created a wave of displaced Nazis seeking to occupy themselves, some of them, for money I am sure, ended up on the side of colonised peoples as arms-dealers: On the ground floor were a group of ex-Nazis who had found refuge in Cairo and had made themselves useful to Nasser; among them a former S.

Obviously, it was not. Finish this overly-long review here. Jan 15, Jack rated it it was amazing Shelves: military-history-general , professional-military-education , cold-war-history , colonial-wars , french. We failed to heed Lesson 2 as well. The setting is the mid's to the early 60's in another colonial possession. The colony is Algeria and the colonizer is France.

Yet saying Algeria is a colony is a bit different from what springs to our minds. Algeria boasted a population of over 1 million French Europeans called Pied Noirs out of a population of 5 million. Alge We failed to heed Lesson 2 as well. Algeria and France, in the French opinion, were one and the same. Unfortunately, for the French that latent heat of Nationalism was growing ever stronger in the poor and second class person, the native Algerian.

The background. France experienced a series of defeats in mids. Her stupendous capitulation to Germany in was a humiliation not unnoticed by her colonial subjects. Her humiliation did not end after Dunkirk, but continued. France fell into a confused partnership since there were the Free French and Vichy French to deal with.

One was on the Allied side and the other was a subject of Nazi Germany. Free France had very little military power and therefore lost her Great Power status and her ability to direct any allied war efforts. Churchill, fearful of the powerful French fleet falling into Nazi hands ordered strikes against the fleet leading to severe damage, not only to the Fleet but relations as well. French forces actually fought each other in a mini civil war.

After the defeat of Germany, France not only had to rebuild her devastated country, but repair her status as a Great Power. Her colonies still belonged to her and she rushed to fill the voids from the defeated Germans and Japanese. The Vietnamese of course had a vote in this which led to the defeat of France in Indo-China. Lesson 1 we failed to heed. Of particular interest is the fact that France employed many colonial units in its Army.

Moroccans, Tunisians, Vietnamese, and Algerians all witnessed the loss of Indochina and the defeat of France. The Algerians especially took these lessons to heart. At almost the same time France lost Vietnam an Algerian insurgency began. Algeria was France. The land, but not the people. Algerians were not considered French citizens. They did not own any land and had little voice to influence any change for the better. The French enjoyed the bistros, the beach, and owned the land.

Many cautioned the French leadership about the pathetic state of the Algerians. Few listened. Disaffected and poor are the birthplace of revolution. Slowly the Algerians began to arm and prepare for war. A bomb blast here and a murder there were eventually replaced by armed bands of Algerian guerrillas. Algerians working for the French and also in the French Army began to desert and join the battle. The FLN became the lead insurrectionary group.

This was Lesson 1 for the French and in a way for us. The Legion and the Paratroopers were the best of the French forces and they had taken their lessons to heart. FLN forces were able to inflict small wounds upon the French, but their maneuverability, firepower, and tactics were much better. FLN forces pinned down were mauled.

These supply runs became nearly suicidal leading to numerous casualties. Also, many Muslim soldiers still fought for the French and were able to infiltrate and extract intel on FLN forces leading to more losses. Even though militarily the FLN was losing, the French were still not winning. Cost and casualties mounted and the war continued on. Harsh measures by the French continued to alienate many non-aligned Algerians. The FLN could still find recruits to fill its ranks.

Politically the war in Algeria led to popular resentment in France and to a direct threat against France. France was growing tired of the cost in lives and treasure. They wanted out. Dissatisfaction within the Army led to a resentment of political leadership. The army wanted Algeria for France and nothing else. The Army would win Algeria without France if needed.

In a stunning move, the French military in Algeria staged a coup that overthrew the government in France and led to the ascendance of De Gaulle. Fears of French units fighting each other almost became reality. De Gaulle was what the military wanted in a leader. De Gaulle however had learned his lessons and knew what lay ahead and began to move toward Algerian independence. A civil war ensued where Frenchmen murdered Frenchmen. The die had been cast though. Algeria would become independent.

Seven years of war came to an end almost overnight. The peace led to one of the greatest migrations know in this century where 1 million French Algerians fled their home. Few believed the promises of sanctuary within the newly independent Algeria. This flood of refugees spread out across France to find a new home. France did not learn her colonial lessons in Indochina and she repeated them in Algeria.

These lessons were also there for us. We paid no attention to two nationalistic wars when we began our saga in Vietnam. It is mind boggling to understand how we assumed things would be different. Much was clouded in our thinking by labeling all insurgencies as Communist and falling for our Domino Theory. Over 50, of our soldiers paid the price for this mistake.

The Savage War of Peace is a well written and organized book that takes you through all this and more. A perfect blending of the political and military with enough background for the reader to understand all. A wonderful read for the military theorist or the armchair historian. Jan 02, Liam rated it really liked it Shelves: owned-books , non-fiction , , history , bought I've been endeavoring to read some non-fiction this year that I have little or no knowledge about - certainly before reading this I had the barest inkling of the fact that Algeria was once a holding of France, and that they must have gained independence at some stage.

It appears that I'm finding myself a historical niche that interests me quite a lot - French colonialist wars - as the Algerian War of Independence kind of reads as the 'sequel' to France's disastrous finale in Indo-China, the Battl I've been endeavoring to read some non-fiction this year that I have little or no knowledge about - certainly before reading this I had the barest inkling of the fact that Algeria was once a holding of France, and that they must have gained independence at some stage.

Savage War of Peace came highly recommended by several articles and reviews I read on the topic before committing to a book - and it didn't disappoint. I'd not read any Alistair Horne before, and I picked up Hubris: The Tragedy of War in the Twentieth Century earlier in the year and was very underwhelmed - but from what I can tell it is pretty much agreed that it is one of his weakest, and just a last attempt to cover some subjects he had never covered before. A Savage War of Peace is incredibly detailed and - most importantly for me - accessibly is that a word?

The edition I read included a foreword which makes plain the comparisons drawn between the French attempts to provide 'freedom' to the Algerian state whilst still maintaining control over it, and America's recent excursions in the middle east - including Horne claiming that he sent President G. Bush a copy of the book for study purposes - and whilst there are parallels to be drawn here, I feel that the French are probably remembered with a lot less animosity 60 years on than America and her allies will be by Iraq, Syria and so on.

Horne especially draws attention to how tragically close France came to retaining control, albeit much reduced, and the benefits this would well have had for an independent Algerian state which has, since throwing off the yoke, staggered from crisis to civil strife and back to crisis again. I'm bad at reviewing non-fiction, but suffice to say that I really enjoyed the read - and it was unexpectedly pleasing to see 'cameos' by names I was familiar with from my readings about Indochina and Dien Bien Phu - 'Bruno' Biegard, 'Madarin' Salan, and so on.

I look forward to reading more Horne in the future. Oct 24, Michael rated it it was amazing. Dramatic and unsparing, yet with a unique ability to empathize with the various factions on both sides, French and Algerian. Horne's book deserves its reputation as a masterpiece. One quibble - je ne parle pas francais! If you don't either, make sure you read the book in the vicinity of a French speaker or have an English-French dictionary handy - Horne has an unfortunate habit at times of providing a quote in the original French and not providing the English translation - you can usually infer the meaning, but still, I am too old and lazy for that type of challenge in my entertainment reading.

But that minor annoyance aside - a truly great book - riveting history. Nov 28, Frank Kelly rated it it was amazing Shelves: foreign-policy , military , intelligence , north-africa. Horne long ago established himself as one of the greatest historians and biographers of our generation and, I would argue, many generations back. This book is exactly why he wears this crown on his august head -- it's an extraordinary story of a brutal war that much of the world ignored while France fought viciously and ultimately to a bitter defeat.

Many pointed to this book as a case study of everything the US was doing in Iraq. Maybe that is correct, maybe not. But to confine this book as s Horne long ago established himself as one of the greatest historians and biographers of our generation and, I would argue, many generations back. But to confine this book as simply a precurser of Iraq is one dimensional.

Rather, it is a story of how the world has changed and the West has failed to understand exactly how to deal with those changes. A true classic with more lessons packed into it than ten other books combined Very detailed history about a war and colonialism that does not get as much acknowledgement as it should in the West. Jan 20, Andrew Hill rated it it was amazing.

Alistair Horne's great chronicle of the Algerian war of independence returned to mainstream attention during the last decade when it was on the reading list of President Bush and many of his national security and military advisors. The implication was that France's experiences in Algeria might hold some lessons for the United States as it fought the Iraqi insurgency at the time a greater concern than the war in Afghanistan. I find this quite ironic, for the one great lesson of Horne's book is h Alistair Horne's great chronicle of the Algerian war of independence returned to mainstream attention during the last decade when it was on the reading list of President Bush and many of his national security and military advisors.

I find this quite ironic, for the one great lesson of Horne's book is how history can enslave strategy, at enormous cost. The relevance of the national ordeals of France and Algeria to the operational and strategic context of the Iraq war is dubious. First, the operational success of the French Army and French intelligence against the FLN in Algiers and other large cities, and against the ALN in the rest of the country, was predicated on tactics that the US never adopted, nor even contemplated.

The most significant example is that France created civilian-free zones in Algeria in order to justify its use of blunt military instruments against its enemies. In doing so, it relocated millions of Algerians from the countryside, fencing them in for years in what can only be called concentration camps. Does the French experience in Algeria hold operational lessons about counterinsurgency? But this search for analogies must also recognize fundamental differences, lest the wrong lessons be applied.

Algeria was always Algeria's war; "Foreign Fighters" were not part of Algerian conflict at least not on the rebel's side. Iraq became a proxy war for the broader attacks of Islamic fundamentalism against the United States, and against its allies and interests.

No parallel exists in the French war for Algeria. The brutality of the foreign fighters in Iraq, their indiscriminate killing of Iraqi civilians, was a crucial negotiating point when the US co-opted the sunni insurgency in the period. No comparable opportunity was presented to the French. Second, and more significant, is that Algeria was a part of France for almost a century and a half.

At the start of the Algerian war, some French had lived in Algeria for five or six generations. To get a sense of how America would view such a war, imagine if Iraq had been conquered during the presidency of US Grant, and then colonized and governed as an integral part of the United States albeit with a disenfranchised muslim majority.

An Iraqi movement against this rule in the past decade would mean the potential expulsion of million Americans of European descent call them "black feet" who had made their home in Mesopotamia. You also have to throw in a vicious terrorist group founded by the "black feet", one that ultimately makes numerous attempts on the life of the US President.

In reality, the emotional and political costs are not comparable. Defeat in Algeria, for France's leaders, meant a fundamental shift in Franch identity, the abandonment of the idea of a greater geographically France, and the specific abandonment to an uncertain future of the pied noirs, the ethnic French inhabitants of Algeria.


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The Algerian War brought down not just several French presidencies, but the actual system of the 4th Republic. Imagine if the Iraq War had resulted in a new system of government--a new US constitution--and you get a sense of it. The Algerian War also resurrected the political career of that greatest of all 20th-century Frenchman, Charles DeGaulle.

For mostly vain reasons, DeGaulle is not admired by many Americans. I love my country, andbutI do not believe that another nation's assertion of greatness is necessarily a challenge to the greatness of my own. DeGaulle reasserted French greatness at a time when France seemed to be sliding into irrelevance and anarchy. The great lesson of the Algerian war is that the past cannot be allowed to rule the future. Path dependencies are strong, but can be overcome through transformational leadership.

The past had held French policy captive in Algeria for decades. DeGaulle was uniquely able to rise above French-Algerian history, to recognize the need to break free of prior commitments, because he saw no other way forward. He ran enormous risks, both to his person and his nation, because he was courageous enough to break from the past.

Jan 13, Tariq Mahmood rated it it was amazing. The is a fantastic piece of world history, of a war of independence fought by Algerian Muslims against their French occupiers who treated Algeria as its very own province. Mainland France found it impossible to disassociate itself from this claim as it has always considered Algeria to be a French province as compared to the British who had The is a fantastic piece of world history, of a war of independence fought by Algerian Muslims against their French occupiers who treated Algeria as its very own province. Mainland France found it impossible to disassociate itself from this claim as it has always considered Algeria to be a French province as compared to the British who had always considered India to be a colony.

Therefore grudgingly it held on to Its Algeria, treating the local Arabs as lesser human beings long after it had lost the Second World War, long after the rest of the modern world had moved away from the era of direct colonisation. But when it became clear that holding onto Algeria was no longer sustainable as the France began to loose its stature as a world leader, the French turned to Charles De Gaulle. The one leader who was resolute and astute enough to finally turn its back to the Algerian French.

Though they did help maintain his resolve by trying to assonance him over and over again. The book is fantastically detailed but super captivating, capturing the French passion and flair. But it lacks the Algerian Muslim revolutionary details somewhat. Wonder if someone can recommend another book on the same subject written from the Muslim angle?


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  • Aug 24, Lauren Albert rated it really liked it Shelves: history-middle-east , history-world. Algeria's story is a complex one and Horne tells it well and even handedly. I, surprising myself, wanted to start over when I finished it to get a better grasp of all of the complexity. I didn't only because it is so very long! The publisher makes a point of quoting Thomas Ricks on the cover, saying that "a Not long ago, I wrote of "Mao's Last Revolution" that I "could not see the forest for the trees. The publisher makes a point of quoting Thomas Ricks on the cover, saying that "anyone interested in Iraq should read this book immediately.

    Anytime pride and identity are an issue in a war zone, there is more than winning and losing a battle to winning and losing the war. The French found that out too late in Algeria. Visiting Algeria after the war, Horne speaks to an Algerian official who, explaining the building of a complex and marina where the French landed in , "We thought this was the most appropriate kind of monument so the French can land here again--but this time with their travellers' cheques! Jun 24, Jonathan rated it it was amazing Shelves: military-history , french-history.

    The Algerian War of Independence against France was, in many ways, the archetype of the "wars of liberation" of the 20th century as imperialism passed out of favor. It was also a precursor of the wars of resistance in Islamic societies against real or perceived Western aggression. Each stage of the struggle seems to be more brutal and bloody than the one before, and things were vastly complicated by the fact that France considered Algeria to be not a colony but rather an integral part of the Fre The Algerian War of Independence against France was, in many ways, the archetype of the "wars of liberation" of the 20th century as imperialism passed out of favor.

    Each stage of the struggle seems to be more brutal and bloody than the one before, and things were vastly complicated by the fact that France considered Algeria to be not a colony but rather an integral part of the French homeland, and by the fact that almost a million European colonists called Algeria home. The French army almost destroyed itself by mutinying against the French government to prevent France's withdrawal, and it is unlikely that anyone other than De Gaulle could have faced down the mutinous troops and generals and their terrorist allies, the OAS and ended the war.

    Alistair Horne is perhaps the outstanding historian of modern France writing in English, and this work is his finest in many ways. Both highly enlightening and not to be missed, A Savage War of Peace is one of those history books that simply shouldn't be missed if you strive to understand the modern world. First rate. Nov 10, Ed rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: kate. Gruelling tough minded, balanced account of the war that is the classic on counter insurgency.

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    In middle east peace talks, everyone has it in their briefcase. But not for the faint hearted and not good for your faith in human goodness: the atrocities on both sides are truly awful. Mar 07, meredith rated it liked it Shelves: read-this-year But, I felt remarkably smart reading it on the Google shuttle, in the face of the Jr.

    The feeling lasted, too. Anyone down to get arcane viz. Because baby, I'm equipped. Nov 30, Alexia rated it it was ok. So dense and drowning in details that it loses sight of the story and becomes difficult to follow. In A Savage War of Peace , Alistair Horne combines the disciplines of journalism and history to provide a broad, yet insightful account of the Algerian War of Independence.

    Aside from this, however, hi In A Savage War of Peace , Alistair Horne combines the disciplines of journalism and history to provide a broad, yet insightful account of the Algerian War of Independence. Aside from this, however, his chronicle is relatively straightforward, alternating between Algerian and French perspectives of the war and chronicling the most significant events.

    Most of these pieds noirs were not actually French, but they were nonetheless privileged over the Muslims, while the Algerian Jews, who constituted a fifth of the non-Muslims, were underprivileged and would end up being caught in the middle of the conflict, even though they were granted automatic French citizenship. In response, the French government promised equal rights and more governmental representation, but by this point the population was skeptical of such pledges that were, in any case, insufficient. National resistance emerged from French educational institutions and was emboldened by the failure of the French to hold their possessions in Indochina.

    Choosing All Saints Day for its symbolic meaning, as well as the likelihood of a more thinly-spread police presence, the first day of the Algerian War of Independence was one of both successes and failures of the FLN. This led the authorities to believe that the actions were less serious than they would turn out to be and could be put down easily. Furthermore, there was limited public interest in France, which contributed to a policy of initial repression.

    A subsequent change in government led to limited support for programs of reform that could have stopped the violence, which in turn engendered increasing cycles of repression and bloodshed. This was the hope of the FLN, who felt that such actions would rally support for the FLN from the uncommitted Muslim population and polarize the issue, a strategy that led to their first indiscriminate attack in the Philippeville Massacre. This became a turning point for the Governor General, Jacques Soustelle, who gave up on hopes of a compromise and ramped up his campaign of repression.

    Yet it also created a rift within the FLN, between those who believed in maintaining the current strategy which included gruesome killings against the uncommitted and those who that the rural population should be convinced of a better life rather than terrorized into joining the cause. The group as a whole, however, rallied around Ramdane Abane, who was neither Marxist-Leninist nor fundamentalist Muslim and was the first to think about the Algerian state after the revolution. The increased cycles of violence, meanwhile, culminated in the Battle of Algiers, which was in large part a lengthy series of indiscriminate FLN terrorist attacks that the French military attempted to stop at all costs.

    Without torture, the FLN network in Algiers would not have been dismantled and they might have won the battle, perhaps shortening the war by several years, yet torture also provided the FLN with a weapon of discourse that, in the long term, worked in their favor. Nevertheless, the French Army did win the battle, which boosted their popularity of the military. The situation between the pieds noirs and the civilian government, meanwhile, was growing tenser, while France found itself unable to form a government in France. This led to the demise of the Fourth Republic and the return of Charles de Gaulle to political life, who vowed to solve the Algerian crisis through reconciliation.

    The FLN, however, felt that his initial efforts towards this end fell short, so de Gaulle ramped up his military efforts while at the same time attempting to win the support of moderate Muslims. De Gaulle waited the situation out, causing the movement to lose momentum, and eventually inspired the military to act forcefully to end the takeover. He remained ambiguous overall, however, about his feelings on Algerian independence. The next major incident was the Algiers putsch, which was an attempt to overthrow de Gaulle and establish a military government. Although they disagreed initially as to whether their actions would be confined to Algeria or spread to mainland France, it was decided eventually to launch operations simultaneously, although only the Algerian mission was successful.

    Although its activities were successful for a time, they lost support when one of their bombs severely injured a child in Paris. By this point the upsurge in OAS violence had led both de Gaulle and GPRA to desire negotiations over Algeria, with the former authorizing his agents to do whatever it took to reach an agreement. In retaliation, OAS declared total war, which enabled the violence to last long after French disengagement from the region, particularly as the Algerians did not have the structures in place to handle independence, and infighting soon absorbed the nascent government.

    This deviates from historical methodology but nevertheless managing to recapitulate the salient points. Overall, A Savage War of Peace is a detailed, in-depth look at the Algerian War of Independence whose disparate disciplines are blended well to provide a text that is scholarly rigorous, engaging, and accessible. Mar 18, Scottnshana rated it it was amazing. To be fair, most of this history is about the Second World War and the hot greasy mess Generals Eisenhower and Marshall ran up against in snapping into a coalition for smashing the Third Reich; so I don't have a lot of sweetness and light for Montgomery either.

    He elucidates the series of broken governme Like most Americans, the more history I read the fewer kind words I hand off to Charles de Gaulle. He elucidates the series of broken governments, then paints a vivid picture of the way those governments' representatives on the ground in Algeria turned the territory into a laboratory for revolution. The consistent history lessons taught in Algerian schools on the glory of storming the Bastille for Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite were taken home to underprivileged and undernourished households.

    In the climate of accelerating urbanization and a countryside where all the European colonists owned the good land, indigenous populations had little chance to earn French citizenship, diminished representation in government, and a skyrocketing birthrate. At first the insurgency wasn't too competent, employing exceptionally violent but isolated incidents, which the French administration labeled "disturbing but not dramatic. French soldiers and gendarmes cleaning out neighborhoods and farmsteads with 'ratissage', then pulling the prisoners out of the cells for torture has been extensively documented, and the dubious intelligence gained has been discussed repeatedly.

    The book is full of similar disturbing but pertinent historical reporting. Bringing in General Challe--an airman--to run the counterinsurgency ensured that French close air support in Algeria evolved more efficient and effective; using airpower to obliterate villages in retaliation for nearby ambushes, though, argues against viewing this evolution as a net gain for the counterinsurgency. The atrocities are described without any gloss or embellishment here; as are the extreme prejudices and hatreds that elicited such a nasty cycle of vengeance in this conflict.

    Horne, a superlative historian, does not allow the reader to forget that the world continued to turn, though, while the revolutionaries, elite soldiers, and pied noir European colonists were embroiled in the fight. The defeat at Dien Bien Phu, the Anglo-French-Israeli landings at Suez, and the tensions between Eisenhower and Khrushchev all tangentially affected this conflict--even as the French were exploding their own atomic bomb down south in the Sahara. The negotiations between de Gaulle's delegates and the Algerian revolutionaries at Evian are every bit as frustrating as reports on the Paris Peace Talks a decade later; considering the U.

    To circle back, Horne has shown that Algeria had by the late '50s become a flaming bag of stink and someone needed to get it out of the house so France could clean up and heal itself. De Gaulle courageously left his monastic retirement and grasped that bag with both hands. I'm not saying I'm heading downtown to buy a Charles de Gaulle t-shirt; but I do view him with a bit more respect after reading this account. I do plan, however, to read some more Camus after digesting this good book, likely with a glass of merlot in my hand.

    Like everything else, it's complicated. Jan 26, Josh Friedlander rated it liked it Shelves: modern-history. The opposite is true: for much of the state's existence, the French army has been the dominant military force in Europe; but so much in war depends on external circumstances.

    A Savage War of Peace: Algeria - Alistair Horne - Google книги

    The Franco-Algerian war is a good example. Horne writes with the extreme intelligence and perspicacity that are his trademarks. Preface to the edition. Ici cest la France. In the Middle of the Ford. Le Dernier Quart dHeure. A Kind of Resurrection. Je Vous Ai Compris. Neither the Djebel nor the Night. This Prince of Ambiguity. All Saints Day The Sorcerers Cauldron. From Bandung to Soummam. The Second Fronts of Guy Mollet. Why We Must Win. The Battle of Algiers. Lost Round for the F L. The World Takes Notice.



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