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The French Intifada [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Hussey
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Beyond the affluent centre of Paris and other French cities, in the deprived banlieues, a war is going on. This is the French Intifada, a guerrilla war between the French state and the former subjects of its Empire, for whom the mantra of 'liberty, equality, fraternity' conceals a bitter history of domination, oppression, and brutality. This war began in the early 1800s, with Napoleon's aggressive lust for all things Oriental, and led to the armed colonization of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, and decades of bloody conflict, all in the name of 'civilization'. Here, against the backdrop of the Arab Spring, Andrew Hussey walks the front lines of this war - from the Gare du Nord in Paris to the souks of Marrakesh and the mosques of Tangier - to tell the strange and complex story of the relationship between secular, republican France and the Muslim world of North Africa. The result is a completely new portrait of an old nation. Combining a fascinating and compulsively readable mix of history, politics and literature with Hussey's years of personal experience travelling across the Arab World, The French Intifada reveals the role played by the countries of the Magreb in shaping French history, and explores the challenge being mounted by today's dispossessed heirs to the colonial project: a challenge that is angrily and violently staking a claim on France's future.

Product Description


'I'm looking forward to The French Intifada. With the troubled banlieues as his starting point, Hussey visits the frontlines of a guerrilla struggle that has been going on since 1800, from the Gare du Nord to the souks of Marrakech, to the mosques of Tangier.' --'2014 non-fiction preview', Rachel Cooke, Observer

'Hussey's as much at home with hip-hop and gruesome Islamist videos as he is talking to buttoned-up French prison officials. I admire Andrew Hussey's book because he has had the courage to go where I didn't' --Nick Fraser, Observer

'Hussy is an engaging guide writing with authority and humour about everything from Zinedine Zidane to architecture. He manages to make what at times is a terrible tale into a fascinating and enjoyable read' --Irish Examiner

'The French Intifada mixes lively street reportage with the history of two brutal centuries in France's former Maghreb territories. This is strong stuff' --New Statesman

'Disturbing and provocative' --Daily Telegraph

'Urgent and brilliant… Superb writing on the complexities of race, religion and immigration that situates this in the legacies of Empire and colonialism' --Huffington Post

'Disturbing and provocative' --Daily Telegraph

'Hussey's narrative strategy is to combine the job of a historian with that of a reporter, and he evinces gusto for being on the ground. His writing is lively and well paced' --Times Literary Supplement

'Disturbing and provocative' --Daily Telegraph

'Indispensable' --'Book of the Year' chosen by Patrick Marnham, Spectator

'Disturbing and provocative' --Daily Telegraph

About the Author

ANDREW HUSSEY is Dean of the University of London Institute in Paris, a regular contributor to the Guardian and the New Statesman, and the writer/ presenter of several BBC documentaries on French food and art. He is the author of The Game of War: The Life and Death of Guy Debord (2001), and Paris: The Secret History (2006). He was awarded an OBE in the 2011 New Years Honours list for services to cultural relations between the United Kingdom and France.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 876 KB
  • Print Length: 465 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (6 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,017 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Experience and reflection 22 Mar. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of my first experiences of living in Paris was taking the stopping train from the centre of the city back out to CDG airport for a flight home to London. The carriage was crowded, standing room only, meaning it held maybe sixty or eighty or one hundred people. I was the only white person. Notwithstanding, the courtesy I was afforded, when to my surprise a young man was told to stand up and offer me his seat, I was left with the shocking sense of the racial separation that characterises France’s capital city. I learned later that a faster, non-stop train goes straight to CDG airport. You will hardly find a black person on it.
Andrew Hussey’s book begins with a chilling description of the realities of life of the black and Arab-origin populations in the banlieues north of Paris through which my stopping train travelled, cross-referenced to the comparable realities of the outskirts of Lyon and Marseille. The strength of his writing is not just that he gives a sense of how and why the young men of these districts have come into the centre of these cities to burn cars and riot, and sometimes to kill, but he makes you wonder why there isn’t more of it.
It would be easy but wrong to dismiss the challenges in France as comparable to the ones we face in England. Hussey shows how French republican fervour, the determined belief that everyone is not only free but equal – the same - means that the colour of someone’s skin is considered irrelevant. Under republican orthodoxy, the separation of whites in the centre of the city and blacks around the outside is not a legitimate concern.
The French experience of colonialism was very different from ours, especially where its relations with its North African neighbours were concerned.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars insight into french colonial attitudes 12 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is a fine analysis of the relation between France and its erstwhile colonies , and reveals a callous attitude to that
indigenous population The impression is that France has become two states, with no dialogue between them
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great context. 28 Mar. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a rare book of astute journalistic investigations into France and its ex-colonial Arabic countries of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. I loved the book as it gave me (bred in an Anglophile culture) a great historical context of the altercation between the French and its Arab subjects. This relationship was different as unlike the English who colonized only for business purposes, the French actually wanted to civilize its new colonies. That explains the current insistence of the French when they want their new Muslim citizens to be French first and Muslim second. Nationalism and religion invoke extreme emotions as they form the basic core of identity. Asking the Muslims to chose between one or the other can induce partial or total alienation of the self, which may force extreme reactions. All extreme situations create extremists.

This war is not just a conflict between Islam and the West but a conflict between two very experiences of the world -- the colonizers and the colonized. The rioting Arab kids like the Taliban are fighting to let us know that they exist and they hate society as it is.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bad things you never knew about the French 25 Jun. 2014
By Robinox
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was a revelation to me. France is our nearest neighbour but Hussey's book reminded me of how little I really know about the place despite having been there on and off for the past 40 years, It lifts the lid on the nastiness of French attitudes; the naked anti-seimitism, the unvarnished racism. I knew little about the French colonial experience in North Africa - this book filled in the gaps. But its true value is that it tells you things the French never tell you themselves: the face France presents to the world - cultivated, stylish, civilised - is a facade which hides a deeply unpleasant truth. The book isn't perfect - it's over-long, some of the writing is ugly and obscures the meaning of what Hussey wants to say. But for anyone who wants better to understand La Belle France better I thoroughly reccomend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cor Blimey Guvnor 5 Feb. 2015
By 2Dogs
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great Book, outlining with precision and clarity the origins to the current problems facing France and other European countries relating to the rise and rise of 'angry young people' who espouse the Muslim faith.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Living in Paris this explains of a lot of the what you see here - a two tier city with the white French in the centre and everyone else on the edge of the city - a gripping and engrossing read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars insightful 2 Mar. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Clearly written with a sense for the historic perspective. Very insightful. Would have liked a sense as to what the endgame is.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight to a real French challenge 6 Jun. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Anyone who wishes to see the challenges that lie ahead for France should read this book. They have a ticking time bomb in their absolute failure to integrate the North African immigrants who have moved in their millions to France in the last half century.
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