This work charts the course of the meteoric rise to prominence of one of the largest and most powerful Islamist movements in the Muslim world. It examines the movement's origins during the period of French colonial domination in the 19th and early 20th century and looks at the role Islamism played in both the national struggle against the French and in the newly independent Algerian state. The main focus of the book is on events since 1988, when unprecedented social unrest led to political changes that allowed Algeria's Islamists to form political parties and compete in multi-party elections. The formation, political agenda and strategy of the largest Islamist party, the Front Islamique du Salut are closely examined, while the author goes on to explain its success in the crushing victories in local and national elections in 1990 and 1991. Michael Willis recounts in detail the events surrounding the military regime's decision to intervene and cancel the 1991 legislative elections following these sweeping gains in the first ballot. The book concludes by dealing with the Islamist movement's response to the army's effective coup d'etat and the subsequent proscription of the FIS. It looks firstly at the development and expansion of armed Islamist resistance to the regime, and secondly considers the attempts by both the regime and the various splintered parts of the FIS, and the wider Islamist movement, to find a resolution to an increasingly bloody conflict - efforts which culminated in the drawing up of the Rome Accord of January 1995 and the holding of presidential elections ten months later. To date over 50,000 lives have been lost in the conflict.