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Challenging De Gaulle: The O.A.S and the Counter-Revolution in Algeria, 1954-1962

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0275927912
ISBN-10: 0275927911
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fascinating account of the fighters for a lost cause -- full of the brutalities and warped heroism which characterized the attempts to keep algeria French, after France decided that it be French no longer."-William Colby, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency

About the Author

ALEXANDER HARRISON was a resident of France from 1960 to 1963 where he began his research on the participants of the Algerian conflict.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (February 3, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275927911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275927912
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,135,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John A. Kennedy on November 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Takes you right inside this ruthless counter-revolutionary urban guerrilla organisation. The author has done considerable painstaking research meeting and interviewing surviving former members of the organisation. It describes in great anecdotal detail the people on the ground, the foot soldiers, amd their leaders - the real OAS. Some excellent tales of their various operations, the persona who were the OAS, their characters, conflicting personalities and fall-outs and the reasons why they took this course of action. You feel you can really understand the motivation and their sense of grievance and betrayal by France, particularly that of General de Gaulle. However, the publishers need to take a good hard look at the text - it contains many general spelling/typing mistakes and also some key names in the historical drama are misspelt- unforgiveable.
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Format: Hardcover
From the Praeger Book News:
"Challenging De Gaulle tells the story of the Algerian counter revolution from the viewpoint of the ordinary foot soldier in the O.A.S. In a series of interviews with former OAS participants, and using many unpublished documents and personal diaries, Harrison examines the motives of these defenders of French Algeria. "were thy criminals, sociopaths, or honorable men more sensitive to their country's fate than were many of their contemporaries?"

The book begins with a historical view of French colonization of Algeria, outlining the roots of the counterrevolution. Further chapters discuss the three abortive efforts to grant native Algerians their independence. The OAS emerged in the wake of these defeats. 192 pages, indexed, a few maps and photos.

For modern readers, the comparisons with the current 'war on terror' are inescapable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was looking for background data on the inner workings and organizational participation in OAS war against de Gaulle in Algeria. While the book is an excellent anthology on this era, much of the writings are permeated with French expressions and entitlements that make the reading somewhat spastic ---but even so, very explicitly detailed and referenced by actual documentary interviews making it an authentic treatise on the entire complex of OAS participants in the Algerian crises. I recommend it to anyone interested in learning a truthful exposure of this very controversial war -both from the French and Algerian perspective.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Michael on October 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is an outstanding history of the O.A.S. (Organisation de l'armée secrète), the heroic men who fought a ferocious terrorist campaign against their own government to prevent the dispossession of 1 million French citizens from their native soil.

In what was surely a dress rehearsal for the planned destruction of France itself, through uncontrolled Moslem immigration, the French government of the vile Charles de Gaulle declared- contrary to a century of promises and despite the fact that the leading Algerian terrorist group, the FLN, had been decisively beaten in the field- that it would grant Algeria independence. The fate of the 1 million French citizens, the pieds noirs- a minority in a Moslem sea- was not taken into consideration by the French elite, but seeing as the FLN had given the European community the choice between the "suitcase or the coffin", it was obvious that independence meant physical dispossession and exile. It was in this climate, in which 1 million people, being subjected to genocidal violence at the hands of the Moslems and offered no physical protection by their own treasonous government, that a relatively small group of soldiers and motivated civilians decided to take a stand for the honor of France and the physical survival of the pieds noirs. And so the O.A.S was born.

The O.A.S. conducted a daring campaign of guerilla terrorism the violence of which was unprecedented in the Western world. Their assassination targets were well-chosen, focusing on key figures and institutions in the government/media/security conspiracy that was consigning French Algeria- and French Algerians- to the ash heap of history. Still, they lost. Why?

Quite simply, they were dealt a bad hand by fate.
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