A History of Algeria

Cambridge University Press
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Covering a period of five hundred years, from the arrival of the Ottomans to the aftermath of the Arab uprisings, James McDougall presents an expansive new account of the modern history of Africa's largest country. Drawing on substantial new scholarship and over a decade of research, McDougall places Algerian society at the centre of the story, tracing the continuities and the resilience of Algeria's people and their cultures through the dramatic changes and crises that have marked the country. Whether examining the emergence of the Ottoman viceroyalty in the early modern Mediterranean, the 130 years of French colonial rule and the revolutionary war of independence, the Third World nation-building of the 1960s and 1970s, or the terrible violence of the 1990s, this book will appeal to a wide variety of readers in African and Middle Eastern history and politics, as well as those concerned with the wider affairs of the Mediterranean.
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About the author

James McDougall is Laithwaite Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Trinity College, Oxford. He previously taught at Princeton University, New Jersey and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has been a member of the editorial advisory boards of the Journal of African History and the International Journal of Middle East Studies. His publications include History and the Culture of Nationalism in Algeria (Cambridge, 2006), Saharan Frontiers: Space and Mobility in Northwest Africa (with Judith Scheele, 2012) and Global and Local in Algeria and Morocco: The World, the State and the Village (with Robert P. Parks, 2015).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Apr 24, 2017
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Pages
451
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ISBN
9781108165747
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Africa / General
History / Middle East / General
History / Modern / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This “brilliant and erudite” history by the award-winning Arabist provides vital context for understanding the contemporary Middle East (Patrick Seale, author of Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East).
 
From Algeria and Libya to Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, the Arab world commands Western headlines. Nowhere else does the unfolding of events have such significant consequences for America. And yet its complex politics and cultures elude the grasp of most Western readers and commentators.
 
A Concise History of the Arabs provides an essential road map to understanding the Arab world today, and in the years ahead. Noted Arab scholar John McHugo guides readers through the political, social, and intellectual history of the Arabs from the Roman Empire to the present day. Taking readers beyond the headlines, McHugo vividly describes the crucial turning points in Arab history—from the Prophet Muhammad’s mission and the expansion of Islam to the region’s interaction with Western ideas and the rise of Islamism. This lucidly told history reveals how the Arab world came into its present form, why major shifts like the Arab Spring were inevitable, and what may lie ahead for the region.
 
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, this accessible history is “the product of wide reading, hard thinking and years of direct experience of the Middle East . . . There are lively and informative insights on almost every page” (Patrick Seale, author of Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East).
Invaded in 1830, populated by one million settlers who co-existed uneasily with nine million Arabs and Berbers, Algeria was different from other French colonies because it was administered as an integral part of France, in theory no different from Normandy or Brittany. The depth and scale of the colonization process explains why the Algerian War of 1954 to 1962 was one of the longest and most violent of the decolonization struggles. An undeclared war in the sense that there was no formal beginning of hostilities, the conflict produced huge tensions that brought down four governments, ended the Fourth Republic in 1958, and mired the French army in accusations of torture and mass human rights abuses. In carefully re-examining the origins and consequences of the conflict, Martin Evans argues that it was the Socialist-led Republican Front, in power from January 1956 until May 1957, which was the defining moment in the war, rather than the later administration under De Gaulle. Predicated on the belief in the universal civilizing mission of the Fourth Republic, coupled with the conviction that Algerian nationalism was feudal and religiously fanatical in character, the Republican Front dramatically intensified the war in the spring of 1956. Drawing upon previously classified archival sources as well as new oral testimonies, France's Undeclared War is the first major English-language history of the Algerian conflict in a generation. Throughout, Martin Evans underlines the ultimately irreconcilable conflict of values between the Republican Front and Algerian nationalism, explaining how this clash produced patterns of thought and action, such as the institutionalization of torture and the raising of pro-French Muslim militias, which tragically polarized choices and framed all stages of the conflict.
Mecca of Revolution traces the ideological and methodological evolution of the Algerian Revolution, showing how an anticolonial nationalist struggle culminated in independent Algeria's ambitious agenda to reshape not only its own society, but international society too. In this work, Jeffrey James Byrne first examines the changing politics and international strategies of the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) during its war with France, including the embrace of more encompassing visions of "decolonization" that necessitated socio-economic transformation on a global scale along Marxist/Leninist/Fanonist/Maoist/Guevarian lines. After independence, the Algerians played a leading role in Arab-African affairs as well as the far-reaching Third World project that challenged structural inequalities in the international system and the world economy, including initiatives such as the Non-Aligned Movement, the G77, and the Afro-Asian movement. At the same time, Algiers, nicknamed the "Mecca of Revolution," became a key nexus in an intercontinental transnational network of liberation movements, revolutionaries, and radical groups of various kinds. Drawing on unprecedented access to archival materials from the FLN, the independent Algerian state, and half a dozen other countries, Byrne narrates a postcolonial, or "South-South," international history. He situates dominant paradigms such as the Cold War in the larger context of decolonization and sheds new light on the relationships between the emergent elites of Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. Mecca of Revolution shows how Third Worldism evolved from a subversive transnational phenomenon into a mode of elite cooperation that reinforced the authority of the post-colonial state. In so doing, the Third World movement played a key role in the construction of the totalizing international order of the late-twentieth century.
In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million—all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose these crimes eventually led to the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated. King Leopold's Ghost is the haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great Shakespearean villains. It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold: a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure and unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust. Adam Hochschild brings this largely untold story alive with the wit and skill of a Barbara Tuchman. Like her, he knows that history often provides a far richer cast of characters than any novelist could invent. Chief among them is Edmund Morel, a young British shipping agent who went on to lead the international crusade against Leopold. Another hero of this tale, the Irish patriot Roger Casement, ended his life on a London gallows. Two courageous black Americans, George Washington Williams and William Sheppard, risked much to bring evidence of the Congo atrocities to the outside world. Sailing into the middle of the story was a young Congo River steamboat officer named Joseph Conrad. And looming above them all, the duplicitous billionaire King Leopold II. With great power and compassion, King Leopold's Ghost will brand the tragedy of the Congo—too long forgotten—onto the conscience of the West.
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