Algeria’s past reclaimed

Claire Spencer welcomes a history freed from colonial overtones

The World Today
2 minute READ

Dr Claire Spencer

Visiting Senior Research Fellow, King's College London

A History of Algeria
James McDougall
Cambridge, £23.99

Algeria is a paradox that seems inaccessible in ways that its immediate neighbours Morocco, and until recently, Tunisia are not, but which is also deeply attached to 20th century European history. It was a base for the French Resistance during the Second World War, then the setting for A Savage War of Peace, Alistair Horne’s classic account of Algeria’s decade-long and ultimately successful war of independence against French colonial rule in the 1950s.

To coincide with Algeria’s 55th anniversary of independence, James McDougall has rightly concluded that puncturing some of the stereotypes surrounding Algeria’s complex history is overdue.

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