I needed to do research on contemporary Algeria and found this excellent book. It is based on an academic thesis, but is still readable - not at least because of all the quotes from people directly involved in the process. I'd say its a must-read if you want to understand more of what's going on in Algeria today.
Areas where it could be better: It ends its analysis around 1996, and thus offers no understanding of the development the last 10 - 15 years. But still, the basis for the present day situation is well understood in the book - the "imaginaire" of war, where fighting is seen as the prime vehicle for social and economic ascension.
There's no reason for pro-regime actors to write insulted reviews of this book here on Amazon, a better idea would be to embrace this type of nuanced understanding of a complex field. But then again, totalitarianism and cleptocracy is a form of government not directly associated with the open, wondering investigation of contemporary issues.
Not at least, I found this book interesting as a basis of understanding why the Arab spring hasn't touched Algeria in the same degree as the rest of the Maghreb region. It is connected to the fact that the disgruntled generation behind the revolts of Egypt and Tunisia in Algeria actually found ways of social and economic ascension through the IMF-imposed reforms. The civil war provided the regime with international backing and forced them to reform and liberalize the economy. This actually led to economic growth, and helped the regime dismantle non-productive areas of the state economy.
I hope for a new and updated analysis of the present situation from the same author!