Algeria

Anger of the Dispossessed

Martin Evans and John Phillips

View Inside Price: $85.00


January 14, 2008
352 pages, x
20 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300108811
Cloth

After liberating itself from French colonial rule in one of the twentieth century’s most brutal wars of independence, Algeria became a standard-bearer for the non-aligned movement. By the 1990s, however, its revolutionary political model had collapsed, degenerating into a savage conflict between the military and Islamist guerillas that killed some 200,000 citizens.

 

In this lucid and gripping account, Martin Evans and John Phillips explore Algeria’s recent and very bloody history, demonstrating how the high hopes of independence turned into anger as young Algerians grew increasingly alienated. Unemployed, frustrated by the corrupt military regime, and excluded by the West, the post-independence generation needed new heroes, and some found them in Osama bin Laden and the rising Islamist movement.

 

Evans and Phillips trace the complex roots of this alienation, arguing that Algeria’s predicament—political instability, pressing economic and social problems, bad governance, a disenfranchised youth—is emblematic of an arc of insecurity stretching from Morocco to Indonesia. Looking back at the pre-colonial and colonial periods, they place Algeria’s complex present into historical context, demonstrating how successive governments have manipulated the past for their own ends. The result is a fractured society with a complicated and bitter relationship with the Western powers—and an increasing tendency to export terrorism to France, America, and beyond.

Martin Evans is professor of contemporary history at the University of Portsmouth and author of The Memory of Resistance: French Opposition to the Algerian War 1954–62 (1997). John Phillips has reported from Algeria for The Times as a special correspondent from 1991 to 1997, and is author of Macedonia: Warlords & Rebels in the Balkans (2004).

"...the murderous chaos that radical Islamism has visited on Muslims is graphically depicted in Martin Evans and John Phillips's Algeria: Anger of the Dispossessed (Yale)...[an example of] how political history should be written.'  - Michael Burleigh, Sunday Telegraph

"A complex, engrossing portrait of a nation afflicted with many contemporary problems: terrorism, economic inequality, a stalled transition to democracy and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. . . . Evans and Phillips's clear-eyed tome reveals a fractured society seething under an insecure and oppressive government."—Publishers Weekly

"The early pages of this collaborative effort by a historian and a journalist offer perhaps the best available brief overview of Algeria's history and its 132 years of French rule."—L. Carl Brown, Foreign Affairs

"The chapter entitled 'Political Islam' . . . will be of value to anyone interested in the intertwined issues of identity, religion, and political development in the Arab-Islamic world. It is a succinct and fact-filled summary of the phenomenon called Islamism or fundamentalism in the 1990s that swept across the 'crescent of crisis' from Morocco to Pakistan (and even Indonesia), and that affects the whole world."—Roger Kaplan, Washington Times
 

"The product of extensive research and courageous reporting, this book combines the best efforts of an academic, Martin Evans, and a journalist, John Phillips, both of whom have many years of experience in North Africa. . . . As this chilling and important book makes clear, [Algeria] remains a country controlled by unelected men who have left most of the population disinherited and at continuing risk of political violence."—Michael Mewshaw, Washington Post

"An excellent primer that provides readers a quick orientation into Algeria's history from 1820 to the present."—Cmdr. Youssef Aboul-Enein, Waterline

“[This] book makes a vital contribution to our knowledge of Algeria and should be required reading for anyone concerned with the politics of North Africa.” - North South

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