• A Savage War of Peace

  • Algeria 1954-1962
  • By: Alistair Horne
  • Narrated by: James Adams
  • Length: 29 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-25-08
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.4 (244 ratings)

Regular price: $38.47

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Publisher's Summary

The Algerian War lasted from 1954 to 1962. It caused the fall of six French governments, led to the collapse of the Fourth Republic, and came close to provoking a civil war on French soil. More than a million Muslim Algerians died in the conflict, and as many European settlers were driven into exile. Above all, the war was marked by an unholy marriage of revolutionary terror and state torture. At the time, this brutal, intractable conflict seemed like a French affair. But from the perspective of half a century, it looks less like the last colonial war than the first postmodern one: a full-dress rehearsal for the amorphous struggle that convulsed the Balkans in the 1990s and that now ravages the Middle East, struggles in which religion, nationalism, imperialism, and terrorism assume unparalleled degrees of intensity.
©1977 Alistair Horne (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"[This] universally acclaimed history...should have been mandatory reading for the civilian and military leaders who opted to invade Iraq." ( Washington Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Judith on 07-12-08

A fascinating book

I've always been very aware of the Algerian War, but I never knew about it in any depth. This books goes from its beginning to the end of the French role in Algeria. The rise of De Gaulle, and the OAS are startling to those who didn't live through this period in history.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By William on 06-28-09


I knew very little about this war. I do remember seeing it constantly referenced in the news as a child in late fifties and sixties. Being an amateur historian I eventually knew more than just the basics but until I read this book - whoa! Utterly fascinating and extremely well researched.
The reader is wonderful and greatly leverages all aspects of this well written history.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Dave on 03-26-12

Just superb

This is a wonderfully told story of an often horrific series of events which chronicle one of the more tragic chapters in the history of the decline and fall of colonialism. It is far more than just a telling of events - it takes great pains to examine the motivations and thinking of both sides, and explains how some of France's apparently most loyal subjects could contemplate revolt and the murder of their leader. With hindsight it all seems like tragically pointless violence, but this book puts those events on context, and clearly benefits from considerable correspondence and interviews with many of the major participants.

A good book is easily spoiled by a poor reader, but this one is top notch. Always clear, and never sounds like he is tiring of what he is reading. The reviewer that said 5% of the text was in French is talking nonsense. Yes there are a few phrases which are untranslated, and that is indeed a pity for those of us with only a long-forgotten school-boy French to rely on, but it does not materially impair a thoroughly enjoyable book that illuminates one of the more terrible episodes in the recent history of Europe's retreat from empire, and explains events that deserve to be better known in the English-speaking world.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Tom on 11-10-11

A fine and interesting book

I read this book when it was first published many years ago, and was looking forward to the updated edition. Alistair Horne tells the story of Algeria's war of independence in an absorbing and interesting way. There's plenty of detail, but he doesn't let it get in the way of the narrative and his judgements seem to the point and well balanced, particularly when he is drawing comparisions with the present day. Hindsight is wonderful, but you do wonder how politicians dont seem to learn from history.

I did find it quite hard to keep a grip of the huge cast of characters, not made easy by the foreign names, but that's me not the book's fault! But you might want to keep a map of Algeria handy if you're not familiar with the geography. Understanding and keeping track is greatly helped by a wonderfully well paced and clear narration, One of the best I've heard.

Quite a long book but well worth a listen if you are interested in modern history from off the beaten track.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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