" ....gives tremendous insight into Algeria's legacies ... Phillips's background as a journalist in Algeria lends immediacy to the anecdotes and quotes," Elizabeth Morris, Library Journal.
-- The Library Journal, Jan.15,2008
"(A) fine example of how political history should be written," Michael Burleigh, Sunday Telegraph, books of the year. -- The Sunday Telegraph, November 25, 2007.
"... the best place to find a coherent account of western Europe's closest Islamic neighbour," Jonathan Sumption, The Spectator, Jan.5, 2008. -- The Spectator, Jan 5,2008
"Stunningly important ... Martin Evans and John Phillips have an enviable grasp of the complexities of Algerian identities ... outstanding ... " Michael Burleigh. -- The Sunday Times, December 30,2007.
"compelling ... a detailed and impressive work," Paul Legg, Literary Review. -- The Literary Review, London, Dec 2007/Jan 2008
"illuminating study" Simon Scott Plummer, The Tablet, Jan. 11, 2008. -- The Tablet, Jan. 11, 2008.
'... a sober... history of modern Algeria... the best place to find a coherent account of western Europe's closest Islamic neighbour.'
-- Jonathan Sumption, Spectator, January 5, 2008
'[A] stunningly important book. Martin Evans and John Phillips have an enviable grasp of the complexities of Algerian identities.' -- Michael Burleigh, The Sunday Times, December 30, 2007
From the Author
The genesis of our book, Algeria: Anger of the Dispossessed dates back to the early 1990s when I was working as a special correspondent for The Times covering the dramatic events that plunged the country into civil war.
Together with researcher and veteran Algeria watcher Abdel Hamid Aoun of the BBC, I conceived the idea of writing a book exposing what was really happening in Algeria, which was receiving very little coverage in Britain or the United States at the time. Our initial title for the project was "Algeria: The inside story of the Mediterranean's hidden civil war."
In 1997 I approached Yale at the suggestion of a colleague from the Times. Yale London Editor Robert Baldock expressed an immediate interest and it was decided, at my suggestion, to ask historian Dr. (now Professor) Martin Evans of Portsmouth University to join the project to give the book a deeper historical dimension.
Numerous obstacles faced us during what for me was to be a 12-year reporting and writing project. Despite such hurdles, doubtless inevitable in many ways given the sensitivity of the subject, the authors were well-placed in many ways to tackle what sometimes seemed an impossible task in explaining the genesis of the massacres that caused huge civilian casualties as the civil war climaxed between 1997 and 1998. I had received considerable support from my editors at the Times of London in the early 1990s when I asked to cover the Algerian story, first from my base in Paris and later from the subsequent one in the newspaper's Rome office.
Such support also was forthcoming from the foreign desk of the Sunday Times, the sister paper of the daily, where I spent two interesting years from 1996 to 1998 before returning full time to the daily.
With the exception of Robert Fisk of the Independent, there was no other British daily newspaper correspondent working as regularly in Algeria at the time. I also had the advantage of having worked in Algeria from the late 1980s as a correspondent with United Press International based in Paris and had visited Algeria as a graduate history student just out of Oxford, aged 21, in 1977, when the war of Independence still was a recent memory for most of the adult population.
The book as the work of two authors inevitably is to some extent a compromise in which both writers had to make concessions to the other's analytical point of view. A dialogue between a journalist who has trained as a historian and a professional academic historian with an expert knowledge of North Africa has been challenging.
It is hoped that the reader will judge the outcome rewarding and informative.
John Phillips, Rome, Jan. 9, 2008.