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Monday, January 22, 2007

A Savage War of Peace

Algeria? What made me want to pick up a book about Algeria? Especially one with the words "savage" and "war" in the title? Well, apparently the President is reading this, based on the recommendation of Henry Kissinger. He talked about it on 60 Minutes. The author sent a copy to Rumsfeld last year, with important passages underlined (!). Maureen Dowd wrote a snarky column about it all (NYT, Jan 17). And now the author, Alistair Horne, an eminent British historian, has popped up on Charlie Rose to talk with Kissinger and others about how the lessons of Algeria might apply to the mess in Iraq. (Program - well worth watching - can be seen now and for the next few days on the Charlie Rose website, later on Google Video).

I was in ninth grade in the fall of 1954 when the French-Algerian war began, and had just graduated from college in 1962, when the truce was signed. I don't recall being in any way informed about or even aware of what was going on. Are high school and college students today as clueless as I was then about foreign affairs?

I've had the book from the library since last week, and have read only 100+ pages (out of 563, not counting addenda - even longer in the paperback version). It's a fascinating read, but not something you can fly through. I am learning so much. Thankfully, however, nobody is relying on me to sort it all out.


Anonymous beecher said...

A coincidence! I just added this to my mental "must read soon" list earlier today. I will bump it up to the top!

8:57 PM  

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