In This Review

Between Ballots and Bullets: Algeria's Transition From Authoritarianism
Between Ballots and Bullets: Algeria's Transition From Authoritarianism
By William B. Quandt
Brookings Institution Press, 1998, 199 pp
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Quandt's 1969 work Revolution and Political Leadership: Algeria 1954-1968 was one of the best books ever written on the political system in Algeria, which achieved independence in 1962 after a brutal eight-year war with France. Still following Algeria closely, he has now produced a solid account in two parts: a concise interpretive history from the legacy of colonialism to the present and an analysis of Algeria's current situation that weaves into his interpretation the prevailing theories of others. The book is thus a succinct case study as well as a deft critique of the range of informed opinion. Among Quandt's own findings: the Islamists' popularity has peaked; their appeal is better explained by a "deep socioeconomic grievance" than a distinctive Algerian Islamist political culture; and Algeria, for all its present terror, military rule, and political gridlock, has a fair prospect of making the transition from authoritarianism to an "accountable, representative government."