100 books like A History of Algeria

By James McDougall,

Here are 100 books that A History of Algeria fans have personally recommended if you like A History of Algeria. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Managing Instability in Algeria: Elites and Political Change

Dalia Ghanem Author Of Understanding the Persistence of Competitive Authoritarianism in Algeria

From my list on the North African version of North Korea: Algeria.

Why am I passionate about this?

I hold a doctorate in political science and am an expert on Algeria. I was a senior scholar at Carnegie for ten years before I joined the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), the EU's official think tank. I was born in Algeria, where I grew up. When I was fourteen, between 22-23 September 1997 the massacre of Bentalha took place while I was living in Algeria, and I became obsessed with that massacre. This obsession led me ten years later to write a Ph.D. on that bloody page of Algerian history, political violence, and jihadism. Eventually, my expertise encompassed all of Algeria's political, social, and economic developments. 

Dalia's book list on the North African version of North Korea: Algeria

Dalia Ghanem Why did Dalia love this book?

In this book, Werenfels explains how elite dynamics and tactics work in the Algerian political system and how they have led to the lack of significant political change since the country returned to the democratic process in 1995. Werenfels analyses the coping mechanisms of the highly opaque authoritarian elite in a shifting local and global environment building on evidence from extensive research. This book planted the seed of an idea for what the topic of my own book would be and how I wanted to structure it. 

By Isabelle Werenfels,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Managing Instability in Algeria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This topical new book seeks to understand the relationship between elite dynamics and strategies and the lack of profound political change in Algeria after 1995, when the country's military rulers returned to electoral processes.

Using evidence from extensive fieldwork, Isabelle Werenfels exposes successful survival strategies of an opaque authoritarian elite in a changing domestic and international environment. The main focus is on:

the changing balance of power between different elite segments the modes of generation change and the different emerging young elite types constraints, obligations and opportunities arising from elite embeddings in clienteles networks and in specific social and economic…


Book cover of Ruling But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey

Dalia Ghanem Author Of Understanding the Persistence of Competitive Authoritarianism in Algeria

From my list on the North African version of North Korea: Algeria.

Why am I passionate about this?

I hold a doctorate in political science and am an expert on Algeria. I was a senior scholar at Carnegie for ten years before I joined the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), the EU's official think tank. I was born in Algeria, where I grew up. When I was fourteen, between 22-23 September 1997 the massacre of Bentalha took place while I was living in Algeria, and I became obsessed with that massacre. This obsession led me ten years later to write a Ph.D. on that bloody page of Algerian history, political violence, and jihadism. Eventually, my expertise encompassed all of Algeria's political, social, and economic developments. 

Dalia's book list on the North African version of North Korea: Algeria

Dalia Ghanem Why did Dalia love this book?

One of my favorite books of its kind and I do not think I have read a better book about this topic ever since. It explains the critical role that the military plays in stabilizing authoritarian regimes in Egypt, Algeria, and until recently, Turkey. It also analyses how informal politics can restrict formal democratic institutions. In this book, Cook perfectly grasps how the military works in these countries and explains it in a clear and accessible style. The book is simply captivating and a must-read. 

By Steven A. Cook,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ruling But Not Governing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Ruling But Not Governing" highlights the critical role that the military plays in the stability of the Egyptian, Algerian, and, until recently, Turkish political systems. This in-depth study demonstrates that while the soldiers and materiel of Middle Eastern militaries form the obvious outer perimeter of regime protection, it is actually the less apparent, multilayered institutional legacies of military domination that play the decisive role in regime maintenance. Steven A. Cook uncovers the complex and nuanced character of the military's interest in maintaining a facade of democracy. He explores how an authoritarian elite hijack seemingly democratic practices such as elections, multiparty…


Book cover of Dictators and Dictatorships: Understanding Authoritarian Regimes and Their Leaders

Dalia Ghanem Author Of Understanding the Persistence of Competitive Authoritarianism in Algeria

From my list on the North African version of North Korea: Algeria.

Why am I passionate about this?

I hold a doctorate in political science and am an expert on Algeria. I was a senior scholar at Carnegie for ten years before I joined the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), the EU's official think tank. I was born in Algeria, where I grew up. When I was fourteen, between 22-23 September 1997 the massacre of Bentalha took place while I was living in Algeria, and I became obsessed with that massacre. This obsession led me ten years later to write a Ph.D. on that bloody page of Algerian history, political violence, and jihadism. Eventually, my expertise encompassed all of Algeria's political, social, and economic developments. 

Dalia's book list on the North African version of North Korea: Algeria

Dalia Ghanem Why did Dalia love this book?

I like this book because it is based on a qualitative investigation into the politics of authoritarian states. It contends that political outcomes in dictatorships are mostly the result of relations between leaders and elites, and the internal structures that influence the dynamics of these relations. The book analyses the differences between several authoritarian regimes and their political ramifications. Process in personalist, military, one-party, monarchical, and semi-authoritarian regimes are examined. The book explains what dictatorship entails and how authoritarian politics function. 

By Natasha Lindstaedt, Erica Frantz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dictators and Dictatorships as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This title discusses how dictatorships work, looking at leaders, elites, and regime dynamics, synthesizing foundational and cutting-edge research on authoritarian politics, and integrating theory with case studies. "Dictators and Dictatorships" is a qualitative enquiry into the politics of authoritarian regimes. It argues that political outcomes in dictatorships are largely a product of leader-elite relations. Differences in the internal structure of dictatorships affect the dynamics of this relationship. This book shows how dictatorships differ from one another and the implications of these differences for political outcomes. In particular, it examines political processes in personalist, military, single-party, monarchic, and hybrid regimes. The…


Book cover of Oil Wealth and the Poverty of Politics: Algeria Compared

Dalia Ghanem Author Of Understanding the Persistence of Competitive Authoritarianism in Algeria

From my list on the North African version of North Korea: Algeria.

Why am I passionate about this?

I hold a doctorate in political science and am an expert on Algeria. I was a senior scholar at Carnegie for ten years before I joined the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), the EU's official think tank. I was born in Algeria, where I grew up. When I was fourteen, between 22-23 September 1997 the massacre of Bentalha took place while I was living in Algeria, and I became obsessed with that massacre. This obsession led me ten years later to write a Ph.D. on that bloody page of Algerian history, political violence, and jihadism. Eventually, my expertise encompassed all of Algeria's political, social, and economic developments. 

Dalia's book list on the North African version of North Korea: Algeria

Dalia Ghanem Why did Dalia love this book?

In this book, Lowi examines why Algeria's domestic political economy disintegrated in the mid-1980s and how the regime eventually reclaimed power and hegemony. Miriam Lowi discusses the significance of leadership decisions for political outcomes and extends her theory to explain the diversity in stability among oil-exporting states in response to economic shocks. Comparing Algeria to Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia, she inquires as to why certain regimes fail and endure regime change while others remain stable or are able to regain stability after a time of turmoil.

By Miriam R. Lowi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Oil Wealth and the Poverty of Politics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How can we make sense of Algeria's post-colonial experience - the tragedy of unfulfilled expectations, the descent into violence, the resurgence of the state? Oil Wealth and the Poverty of Politics explains why Algeria's domestic political economy unravelled from the mid-1980s, and how the regime eventually managed to regain power and hegemony. Miriam Lowi argues the importance of leadership decisions for political outcomes, and extends the argument to explain the variation in stability in oil-exporting states following economic shocks. Comparing Algeria with Iran, Iraq, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, she asks why some states break down and undergo regime change, while…


Book cover of Our Fighting Sisters: Nation, Memory and Gender in Algeria, 1954-2012

Jessica Ayesha Northey Author Of Civil Society in Algeria: Activism, Identity and the Democratic Process

From my list on understanding the importance of Algerian History.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved Algeria since I lived there for 3 years from 2007. The experiences of the 20th century, particularly the War of Independence, make Algeria such an important country. The anti-colonial War overturned an entrenched colonialism, not only in Algeria, but set in train a movement for freedom across an entire continent. I have written extensively on the growth of civil society associations and how these helped people recover from tragedies; and more recently, the developments that sprung from the Algerian Hirak of 2019. This saw millions of protesters march peacefully, for over a year, to bring about significant changes and new understandings of citizenship in the 21st century.

Jessica's book list on understanding the importance of Algerian History

Jessica Ayesha Northey Why did Jessica love this book?

Our Fighting Sisters is a wonderful, inspiring, and stylishly written book, drawing on in-depth interviews with celebrated women fighters from the liberation struggle in Algeria.

It is one of the first books to fully engage with the experiences of women who lived through the struggles of the Independence War. It documents the roles women played, both as intellectuals and combatants, in overturning the brutal colonial rule, thus liberating Algeria and in many ways, the African continent.

It still has implications for the future of resistance movements in Algeria and beyond. 

By Natalya Vince,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our Fighting Sisters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Between 1954 and 1962, Algerian women played a major role in the struggle to end French rule in one of the twentieth century's most violent wars of decolonisation. This is the first in-depth exploration of what happened to these women after independence in 1962. Based on new oral history interviews with women who participated in the war in a wide range of roles, from urban bombers to members of the rural guerrilla support network, it explores how female veterans viewed the post-independence state and its multiple discourses on 'the Algerian woman' in the fifty years following 1962. It also examines…


Book cover of Algerian Women and Diasporic Experience: From the Black Decade to the Hirak

Jessica Ayesha Northey Author Of Civil Society in Algeria: Activism, Identity and the Democratic Process

From my list on understanding the importance of Algerian History.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved Algeria since I lived there for 3 years from 2007. The experiences of the 20th century, particularly the War of Independence, make Algeria such an important country. The anti-colonial War overturned an entrenched colonialism, not only in Algeria, but set in train a movement for freedom across an entire continent. I have written extensively on the growth of civil society associations and how these helped people recover from tragedies; and more recently, the developments that sprung from the Algerian Hirak of 2019. This saw millions of protesters march peacefully, for over a year, to bring about significant changes and new understandings of citizenship in the 21st century.

Jessica's book list on understanding the importance of Algerian History

Jessica Ayesha Northey Why did Jessica love this book?

Latefa Guemar’s powerful research on the Algerian Diaspora from a woman’s perspective shows to the world the terrible experiences of violence against women in the Algerian Black Decade of the 1990s.

This harrowing conflict forced women into exile via a broken European asylum system that failed, and still fails, women in so many ways.  Her work on diasporic networks of women’s groups and associations, inspired work we recently did together during Covid on Algeria diaspora activism.

The book’s beautiful and mesmerizing front cover, designed by one of our students, Ikram, was part of our arts-based training on Imagining the Future. I still get shivers when I see this.

By Latefa Narriman Guemar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Algerian Women and Diasporic Experience as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book uses the narratives of women who fled Algeria in the 1990s-known as the 'Black Decade'-to offer a more intimate understanding of the violence women face in times of conflict. It details their struggle for independence, and for freedom from the violence directed against them as women, as well as revealing the obstacles they encounter when seeking gender-appropriate international protection. Chapters also investigate these women's life experiences beyond Algeria, and the professional and cultural networks they form. Such networks play an important role in enabling the female diaspora to maintain relationships with Algeria and to engage in political discussion…


Book cover of Algerian White

Jessica Ayesha Northey Author Of Civil Society in Algeria: Activism, Identity and the Democratic Process

From my list on understanding the importance of Algerian History.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved Algeria since I lived there for 3 years from 2007. The experiences of the 20th century, particularly the War of Independence, make Algeria such an important country. The anti-colonial War overturned an entrenched colonialism, not only in Algeria, but set in train a movement for freedom across an entire continent. I have written extensively on the growth of civil society associations and how these helped people recover from tragedies; and more recently, the developments that sprung from the Algerian Hirak of 2019. This saw millions of protesters march peacefully, for over a year, to bring about significant changes and new understandings of citizenship in the 21st century.

Jessica's book list on understanding the importance of Algerian History

Jessica Ayesha Northey Why did Jessica love this book?

One of Algeria’s greatest writers, Assia Djebar, deserves far greater recognition in the English-speaking world.

Her book, Algerian White, gives a painful account of the loss of three important Algerian intellectuals, against the backdrop of the Black Decade, and offers an eloquent and moving account of Algeria’s trauma of the 1990s.

Her analysis of Algerian society, culture, and language offers us a powerful reflection on the difficulties of nation-building and identity, in the post-colonial period and in challenging times.  

By Assia Djebar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Algerian White as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Algerian White, Assia Djebar weaves a tapestry of the epic and bloody ongoing struggle in her country between Islamic fundamentalism and the post-colonial civil society. Many Algerian writers and intellectuals have died tragically and violently since the 1956 struggle for independence. They include three beloved friends of Djebar: Mahfoud Boucebi, a psychiatrist; M'Hamed Boukhobza, a sociologist; and Abdelkader Alloula, a dramatist; as well as Albert Camus. In Algerian White, Djebar finds a way to meld the personal and the political by describing in intimate detail the final days and hours of these and other Algerian men and women, many…


Book cover of Algiers, Third World Capital: Freedom Fighters, Revolutionaries, Black Panthers

Jessica Ayesha Northey Author Of Civil Society in Algeria: Activism, Identity and the Democratic Process

From my list on understanding the importance of Algerian History.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved Algeria since I lived there for 3 years from 2007. The experiences of the 20th century, particularly the War of Independence, make Algeria such an important country. The anti-colonial War overturned an entrenched colonialism, not only in Algeria, but set in train a movement for freedom across an entire continent. I have written extensively on the growth of civil society associations and how these helped people recover from tragedies; and more recently, the developments that sprung from the Algerian Hirak of 2019. This saw millions of protesters march peacefully, for over a year, to bring about significant changes and new understandings of citizenship in the 21st century.

Jessica's book list on understanding the importance of Algerian History

Jessica Ayesha Northey Why did Jessica love this book?

Elaine Mokhtefi’s exceptional memoirs, document her life, moving from the US to France, then Algeria, to participate in the Algerian liberation struggle and then in post-independence Algeria.

They are as inspiring as they are exciting. Her story and personal connections with the Black Panther movement’s exiles, give fascinating insights into Algiers as the capital, the Mecca, for revolutionaries of the 1960s and 1970s.

This is an optimistic, but not uncritical, account, which shows the potential of recent Algerian history, to teach us about courage, resilience, and our collective struggles for democracy and justice. 

By Elaine Mokhtefi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Algiers, Third World Capital as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mokhtefi (nee Klein), a Jewish American from Long Island, has had an exhilarating life. In the 1960s, she served as a press adviser to the National Liberation Front in postwar Algiers, before going to work with Eldridge Cleaver, who was wanted in the US for his role in a deadly shoot-out with Oakland police. Half a century later, as an eighty-nine-year-old painter living on the Upper West Side, Mokhtefi still seasons her prose with the argot of revolution.


Book cover of Women of Algiers in Their Apartment

Martin Evans Author Of Algeria: France's Undeclared War

From my list on the Algerian War from an Algerian perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been fascinated by Algeria ever since I first visited the country in the summer of 1982, visiting cities in the north, Algiers and Oran, and then crossing over the Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert. This encounter never left me, so it was quite natural that when I started a PhD I was drawn to Algerian history. My books seek to both put Algerians centre-stage through their creativity expressed in music, food, poetry, writings and humour and to connect them to wider global histories. I'm co-curating a Cultures of Resistance Festival in Dublin which will bring together Algerian and Irish creatives to reflect upon their common resistance cultures.

Martin's book list on the Algerian War from an Algerian perspective

Martin Evans Why did Martin love this book?

This is not only a beautifully written book, it is an important one. Why? Because it poses challenging questions about the promise of post-independence freedom for Algerian women through a collection of short stories written between 1959 and 1978. First published in French in 1980, the writing style is at once innovative, lyrical, and unsettling as Assia Djebar explores the condition of Algerian women across the pre-colonial, colonial and immediate post-colonial periods. The inspiration for the book is Eugène Delacroix’s 1834 painting of women in an Algerian harem because, as Djebar explains in the post-face, this picture leads her straight to the conundrum of 1970s Algeria: “What would Delacroix see if he entered into contemporary Algerian apartments?” And for her the depressing conclusion is that he would still find women locked up and shut away just as in the 1830s. One of the most significant voices to emerge from Algeria,…

By Assia Djebar, Marjolijn de Jager (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women of Algiers in Their Apartment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The cloth edition of Assia Djebar's Women of Algiers in Their Apartment, her first work to be published in English, was named by the American Literary Translators Association as an ALTA Outstanding Translation of the Year. Now available in paperback, this collection of three long stories, three short ones, and a theoretical postface by one of North Africa's leading writers depicts the plight of urban Algerian women who have thrown off the shackles of colonialism only to face a postcolonial regime that denies and subjugates them even as it celebrates the liberation of men. Denounced in Algeria for its political…


Book cover of The Nomad: Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt

Louisa Waugh Author Of Hearing Birds Fly: A Nomadic Year in Mongolia

From my list on the intimate lives of landscapes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Louisa Waugh is a writer, blogger, and the prize-winning author of three non-fiction books: Hearing Birds Fly, Selling Olga, and Meet Me in Gaza. She has lived and worked in the Middle East, Central and West Africa, and is a conflict adviser for an international peace-building organisation. She blogs at The Waugh Zone and currently lives in Brighton, on the southern English coast, where she kayaks and drinks red wine on the beach, usually not at the same time.

Louisa's book list on the intimate lives of landscapes

Louisa Waugh Why did Louisa love this book?

Isabelle Eberhardt was born in 1877. She was “a crossdresser and sensualist, an experienced drug taker and a transgressor of boundaries”. Born in Switzerland, she crossed the Sahara Desert on horseback dressed as a male marabout, driven by a hunger for nomadic adventures, and for love. Isabelle’s evocative diaries are intense, beautifully written, self-centred and dramatic, occasionally very funny. She fell madly in love with the Sahara, was accused of being a spy, married a young Algerian soldier, and drowned in a desert flash flood at the age of 27. This book is about a short life that burned radiantly and the desiccated landscape that mirrored her intensity.

By Isabelle Eberhardt,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Nomad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eberhardt's journal chronicles the daring adventures of a late 19th-century European woman who traveled the Sahara desert disguised as an Arab man and adopted Islam. Includes a glossary. Previously published in English by Virago Press in 1987, and as The Passionate Nomad by Virago/Beacon Press in 19


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Algeria, North Korea, and North Africa?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Algeria, North Korea, and North Africa.

Algeria Explore 36 books about Algeria
North Korea Explore 40 books about North Korea
North Africa Explore 24 books about North Africa