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A History of Algeria


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  • Date Published: April 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521617307

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • A fully updated general history, based on brand new research and fieldwork, covering the whole period since the sixteenth century, filling in gaps left by previous literature
    • Focuses on the perspective of the Algerian people, rather than that of the English or French
    • Accessibly written as an introduction for non-specialist readers, such as undergraduate students, without any prior knowledge of the region
    Read more


    • Winner, 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

    Reviews & endorsements

    '… masterful - comprehensive, deeply researched, and balanced. If there is an overall theme that is woven through this well-written book, it is that the state has never been all-powerful … and Algerian society has never been as fragmented or feeble as many observers have claimed.' William B. Quandt, Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia, and author of Revolution and Political Leadership: Algeria, 1954–1968

    '… the best single-volume study of the country in English … an elegant, detailed, and lucid guide to the rich and fascinating story of the Algerian people.' Susan Slyomovics, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

    'A majestic historical portrait of a deeply complex country … the pre-eminent scholarly account in any language that all future students of the subject will have to consult.' John Entelis, Fordham University, New York

    '… stunning … Unlike the majority of studies that take Algeria as merely a template for French colonialism, or as a model of Third World revolution, McDougall's work seeks to both interpret and understand the lived social realities of its people and their past.' Julia Clancy-Smith, The University of Arizona

    'This awesome and superlative piece of historical writing tells a tremendous tale … Elegant prose and an anthropological eye for the people who have been the actors of this history only make the narrative more compelling.' Francis Ghiles, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs

    'Africa's largest state by size, Algeria is an energy producer whose political and religious future is of critical importance to the Mediterranean, north Africa and the wider Islamic world. Oxford historian McDougall paints a compelling portrait of a country whose history is too often seen through the narrow lens of French colonialism and the 1954–62 war of independence.' 'Summer Books 2017 History list', Financial Times

    'The work is based on an extensive source knowledge and also incorporates eyewitness interviews into the reasoning. These are complemented by a wide selection of current research literature.' Alexandre Bischofberger, Francia-Recensio

    '… the book contains a wealth of information and is useful for students and scholars of Algeria …' Abdelmajid Hannoum, The American Historical Review

    '… McDougall draws upon a range of primary sources and interviews in crafting his nuanced arguments, offering a valuable piece of scholarship aimed at both the student as well as the expert.' Gavin Murray-Miller, The English Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521617307
    • length: 448 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • contains: 32 b/w illus. 3 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Ecologies, societies, cultures and the state, 1516–1830
    2. Conquest, resistance and accommodation, 1830–1911
    3. The means of domination, 1830–1944
    4. The politics of loyalty and dissent, 1912–42
    5. Revolution and civil war, 1942–62
    6. The unfinished revolution, 1962–92
    7. The fragile and resilient country, 1992–2012
    Afterword: in the shadow of revolution.

  • Author

    James McDougall, Trinity College, Oxford
    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).


    • Winner, 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
    • Co-winner, 2018 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize in Middle Eastern Studies

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