A Savage War of Peace Paperback – 11 Oct 2002
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About the Author
Alistair Horne is the author of many acclaimed books, including 'The Price of Glory', 'Small Earthquake in Chile' and 'How Far From Austerlitz?: Napoleon, 1805-1815', as well as the authorised two-volume biography of Harold Macmillan. Macmillan are also publishing his history of Paris, The Seven Ages Of Paris in hardback in September 2002.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, the similarities are scary - the reliance on pure military power to win, the use of tactics (particularly in the battle of Algiers) that alienated the locals and effectively made them into allies of the FLN rebels or at least tolerant of them, and the widespread use of torture (a subject that touches raw nerves in France to this day). As with Iraq, the FLN didn't confront the French military head-on, but relied on ambush and, more particularly, on intimidating and murdering local allies of the French, policemen, local officials and the like. There were also French near-equivalents of "Mission Accomplished", even as the war was being lost where it desperately needed to be won - in the hearts and minds of Algerians themselves.
As I write this, Zinédine Zidane is in Algeria, being feted as a hero.Read more ›
He draws you in immediately with the ironic title to his first chapter; a quote from former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, that Setif was "A Town of No Great Interest." It was in this non-descript town that the native Muslim Algerians revolted against the French at the end of the WW II, and were in turn brutally massacred. And it was near Setif that two young French teachers, "dedicated liberals", bookish and bespectacled, were murdered on All Saint's Day, 1954, in the commencement of Algeria's war of liberation.
Horne uses a wild range of sources for incisive epigraphs at the commencement of each chapter, and perhaps none is better than the one from Jonathan Swift: "In war opinion is nine parts in ten." That opinion was spun and spun again as events repeatedly outraced the expectations of the actors.
France first went to Algeria in 1830, colonizing it under the rubric of a "civilizing mission," (a forerunner of bringing the natives democracy).Read more ›
Horne admirably makes up for the lack of documentation on the Algerian side of the war and manages, somehow, despite that massive inbalance in printed references between France and Algeria, to present a text which presents both sides with scholarly depth.
It is sobering to think that in an established western democarcy like France, attempted military coups only happened a generation ago. On these pages can be found the ultimate bloody epitaph of colonialism.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was one of the best history books I have ever read. Gripping and exciting, while at the same time meticulously researched, it swept me along through the tumultuous events... Read morePublished 2 months ago by marinade
It's a fantastic story anyway with so much happening that it must be hard to write a boring book about this conflict. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dereck
Excellent book and very well written of the author who is respecting both parts of this conflict.Published 4 months ago by Wackermann Paul-Claude
Fantastic review of how to lose an empire with bad grace and savage violence. The French are sympathetically portrayed by Horne. Read morePublished 4 months ago by SimonGP
A wise and disconcerting read. It is hyped as the book to read if you wish to understand the situation in Iraq better. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Richard Hughes
Oh, how cruel people are. This is a richly detailed account of terrifying times. I thought it gave a great insight into the way public opinion and government policy interacted to... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Emrys Williams
Tremendous read. Good overview of the economic/ political situation and the establishment of the FLN. Read morePublished 10 months ago by williami
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