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The Algerian War, 1954-62 (Men-at-arms) [Paperback]

Martin Windrow , Mike Chappell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Nov 1997 Men-at-arms (Book 312)
In the mid-1950s to early 1960s the Algerian war dominated the European press, comparable in impact to the Vietnam War. France was divided politically, and governments rose and fell regularly. Algeria was France's oldest, richest and most integrated colony, but during the war in Indochina an underground separatist movement began. Its armed wing, the ALN, began to act in 1954. The tactics they used are described in this text, ranging from assassination, including attempts on de Gaulle, to the intimidation of natives. The actions of the French military are covered, including the French Foreign Legion and the first use of airborne counter insurgency operations, now commonplace in modern warfare. The war is also considered the source of the reputaion now associated with paratroopers as crack troops.

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The Algerian War, 1954-62 (Men-at-arms) + The Indochina War, 1946-54 (Men-at-arms) + French Foreign Legion Since 1945 (Men-at-arms)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (15 Nov 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1855326582
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855326583
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 18.2 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 206,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Martin Windrow is series editor at Osprey and an authority on the post-war French army, particularly the Foreign Legion. He is the author of the very successful Men-at-Arms 300: French Foreign Legion since 1945 and Men-at-Arms 322: The French War in Indochina 1946-54.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IT IS HARD, after 40 years, to convey the public impact of France's war to maintain her colonial grip on Algeria; yet in the late 1950s this ugly conflict dominated Europe's media to almost the same extent as would Vietnam ten years later. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and concise 4 July 2010
By Mulwharchar TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With due respect to the previous review, this doesn't purport to be a comprehensive history of the Algerian war of independence and the author refers readers to Alistair Horne's classic A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 (New York Review Books Classics) for that. However what it does do within the constraints of the usual Osprey format is give a good overview of the complex nine year campaign, with well-illustrated features on the French government and nationalist ALN forces. Taken for what it is, this is as good as any Osprey title and sheds some useful light on a war which has been unjustly overlooked in the English-speaking world. If it has whetted your interest, I'd also recommend the French books La guerre d'Algérie (1DVD), Le Commando De Penfentenyo (Album Historique), Les Paras Francais en Algerie 1954-1962 and 13eme RDP for their unrivalled photographic coverage of French military operations in Algeria.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay book, not one of the best 1 Nov 2006
Could have more written info. Plates a bit bland.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended reading mtrl. 4 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on
This title in the Osprey Men At Arms series covers the war in Algeria 1954-1962. The book is well written and covers both sides. It's also a sort of a "companion" to the other MAA titles like The French Foregin Legion 1945 - ... and The French War In Indochina which are also written by the same author.
In short, if you are interested in colonial wars like me or in the French Foregin Legion it`s a book you should have.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Account of this Conflict 4 Feb 2012
By B767Captain - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had heard of this bloody war, but didn't know much about it. In this 48-page softbound book, there are intriguing photos, diagrams and accounts of France's war in one of its colonies in the 1950's and 60's.I had a much better understanding of this war and the outcome of French-Arab relations once it was over. It is a definitive history of the French-Algerian war, and I recommend it highly.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last War of French Decolonization 16 May 2004
By Eduardo J. Tellez A - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After the Lost of Indochina,Algeria became more interested the need of independence but for some Algeria was the Jewel of the Emperie and specially for the Troops that have been their second nation like the French Foreign Legion who have fight for 134 years, many muslin were pro-french but with the pass of time the pressure for Muslim rights,internal self goverment,independence, or even complete integration with France had long been building up among the small but significant academic and professional class which had benefited from the French education.
The post-war French loss of Syria and Lebano,military reverse in Indochina and events in Tunisia and Morocco all prepared the ground for rebellion in Algeria.
The ALN try to emulated the VIETMINH, but never enjoyed the VIETMINH'S greatest asset, an area they could control and in which they could hide up and remain secure.
After 8 years of war on March 1962 a cease-fire was finally arranged between government and FLN representatives at Evian, France. In the long-awaited referendum, held the following July, Algeria voted overwhelmingly for independence. The colons began a mass evacuation; before the end of the year most of them had left the country.
Martin Windrow come again with another title dedicated to another War of French Decolonization(check The French Indochina War 1946-54 MMA322)this time we enter the Algerian War in North Africa, with a quick overview of the war and a summary of main eventes between 1954-1962, I like the comments on The Army of National Liberation(Command Structure)and the French Army in Algeria with all their troops from Zouaves to Natives,a part dedicated to the Mutiny of April and Select Bibliography(Small)
The Book is small but help me see the War in a Quick look,with good photos and superb colour artwork by Mike Chappell. we can see the ANL and the French Amry Uniforms in Color(great plates on General Marcel Bigeard famous for the torture of Algerians)
For more books on the Wars of Decolonization see Anthony Clayton "The Wars of French Decolonization" and "France, Soldiers, and Africa" thsi two title one dedicated to the French Troops in Africa from 1830 to 1962 and the other to the Wars of Liberation of the Colonial Rule Tunisia, Madagascar, Morocco, Indochina and Algeria. Martin Windrow is the author of 5 books on the French Army, French Foreign Legion 1914-45, The French Indochina War 1946-54, French Foreign Legion-Infantry and Cavalry since 1945 and French Foreign Legion Paratroops all from Osprey military History Books.
For books on the Algerian War, The Battle of the Casbah by Paul Aussaressess, The Memory of Resistance by Martin Evans,The French Foreign Legion by Douglas Porch, All the major operations in the Algerian War and The Algerian War and the French Army, 1954-62 by Martin S. Alexander, The Movie of Anthony Quinn The Lost Command(1966) is dedicated to Algeria and the another movie "The Battle of Algiers" is also a great story on the War and the violent counter-terrorist measures use by the French Army. Athony Clayton also have another book dedicated to the Post War Era but explore all the major conflict only in Africa,"Frontiersmen-Warfare in Africa since 1950"
4.0 out of 5 stars Brief, but good overview 4 Jun 2013
By Jonathan Weller - Published on
This book, like most Osprey published works, is a brief overview of the specific engagements. The book is a brief overview of the French-Algerian War from 1954-1962. The book does its job well telling the story of both sides; the pictures, writings and drawings are also first rate eye candy.

The French army was almost at a continual war stage from 1940-1962. The French army gets a rather unfair shake when it comes to some historians, often referring to them as lovers not fighters. This may seem nice to civilians, but as an army, that's not what you want to hear. For the French Army it seemed like defeat after defeat after impending defeat. They were whipped in World War Two by the Germans; They were beaten by the Viet Minh in Indochina, and although they won the war in Algeria, the French Government decided to grant Algerian independence nonetheless. I've never known a lot about the French Army and its personal until recently taking a class at school on their involvement in Indochina. This sparked an interest that has also led me to check out Algeria as well. Both these engagements led to defeat for the French Army in the field, but you couldn't say it was lack on any part by the French troops. Like usual, politicians and generals made the ultimate decisions for the war, and in the end it doomed the French Expeditionary Forces in Indochina and Algeria.

This is a decent book for what it is. If you, like me, are curious about France's wars of decolonization after World War Two, then this book is a must-have. If you want something a little more meat-and-potatoes, than you'd be better served to check into other books on the topic.
4.0 out of 5 stars Lessons for Afghanistan and Iraq 1 May 2009
By Jeffrey Swystun - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a conflict that France obsesses over like America does Vietnam. It reflects a loss on many levels and will be debated for decades. Currently, the Algerian conflict offers lessons for insurgencies and terrorist actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. I am fan overall of Osprey and their library of titles. For me they act as a great introduction to a piece of history that often prompts me to research and read more deeply on the subject. And that happened in this case as the Algerian conflict is fascinating. I have been trying to get my hands on France and the Algerian War by Alexander to continue my follow-up.
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