In This Review

Algeria, 1830-2000: A Short History
Algeria, 1830-2000: A Short History
By Benjamin Stora
Cornell University Press, 2001, 283 pp

This is a rich but mistitled history. It offers a detailed study of Algeria from its brutal eight-year war of independence (1954-62) to the present but only a brief outline of the period from 1830 to 1954. Readers not well-versed in recent Algerian history should skim over the many unfamiliar names and places, go along with abrupt transitions, and ignore occasional awkward translations from the original French to appreciate the sound overall interpretation that specialists will rightly applaud. Its useful chronology also helps. Stora is especially good in showing the continuing intra-Algerian struggle during and after the war against the French, underscoring the dominance of the Algerian military throughout and integrating economic, social, and cultural factors. Stora transcends the unified nationalist rendering of Algeria's history to reveal a much more complex and conflicted society -- even though he appropriately emphasizes the awesome challenges that Algerians have faced since the 1950s.