The French Intifada | Granta

  • Published: 19/01/2015
  • ISBN: 9781847082596
  • 130x20mm
  • 464 pages

The French Intifada

Andrew Hussey

Beyond the affluent centre of Paris and other French cities, in the deprived banlieues, a war is going on. This is the French Intifada, a guerrilla war between the French state and the former subjects of its Empire, for whom the mantra of ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’ conceals a bitter history of domination, oppression, and brutality. This war began in the early 1800s, with Napoleon’s lust for martial adventure, strategic power and imperial preeminence, and led to the armed colonization of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, and decades of bloody conflict, all in the name of ‘civilization’.

Here, against the backdrop of the Arab Spring, Andrew Hussey walks the front lines of this war – from the Gare du Nord in Paris to the souks of Marrakesh and the mosques of Tangier – to tell the strange and complex story of the relationship between secular, republican France and the Muslim world of North Africa. The result is a completely new portrait of an old nation. Combining a fascinating and compulsively readable mix of history, politics and literature with Hussey’s years of personal experience travelling across the Arab World, The French Intifada reveals the role played by the countries of the Maghreb in shaping French history, and explores the challenge being mounted by today’s dispossessed heirs to the colonial project: a challenge that is angrily and violently staking a claim on France’s future.

There is some terrific and chilling reporting [here] and Hussey is at his best when on the streets... Provocative... an important new book


Compelling... Hussey makes a strong case that France's contemporary malaise can only be understood in the light of [its] tragic history... Fascinating and hugely readable

Matthew Campbell, Sunday Times

Vivid, arresting, and striking... Hussey is a talented writer, and knows his subject... Nuanced and persuasive


The Author

ANDREW HUSSEY is Director of the Centre for Post-Colonial Studies in the School of Advanced Study, University of London. He is a regular contributor to the Guardian and the New Statesman, and the writer/presenter of several BBC documentaries on French food and art. He is the author of The Game of War: The Life and Death of Guy Debord (2001), and Paris: The Secret History (2006). He was awarded an OBE in the 2011 New Years Honours list for services to cultural relations between the United Kingdom and France. His latest book, The French Intifada, was published by Granta Books in 2014. He lives in Paris.

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