Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad

Overview

"This book interprets torture not as an incidental if frequent characteristic of neocolonial conflict, but as one of its major elements. Using the Algerian war as a case study, Lazreg argues that to the French forces the psychological and political significance of their policy of torture was far greater than its operational significance. Her work is certainly pertinent to the present."--Peter Paret, Institute for Advanced Study

Read More Show ...
See more details below
Hardcover
$43.46
BN.com price
(Save 12%)$49.95 List Price
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (19) from $21.00   
  • New (10) from $33.24   
  • Used (9) from $21.00   
Sending request ...

Overview

"This book interprets torture not as an incidental if frequent characteristic of neocolonial conflict, but as one of its major elements. Using the Algerian war as a case study, Lazreg argues that to the French forces the psychological and political significance of their policy of torture was far greater than its operational significance. Her work is certainly pertinent to the present."--Peter Paret, Institute for Advanced Study

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Review of Middle Eastern Studies
As a highly original, yet solid, analysis of the political sociology, psychology, and anthropology of torture, Lazreg's research establishes critical connections between Algeria and the Shock and Awe Campaign of the Second Gulf War with the Bush White House years marked by state terror abroad and at home. . . . This book is required reading for all.
— Julia Clancy-Smith
Times Literary Supplement - Priya Satia
In Torture and the Twilight of Empire, Marnia Lazreg draws resourcefully on military history and sociological and cultural analysis to explain how the French colonial state tried to forestall its own collapse by terrorizing the Algerian population in viciously creative ways. She provides a fascinating intellectual history of modern torture; an unflinching empirical account, or 'ethnography of torture.'
Muslim News - Muhammad Khan
Nothing short of a thorough anatomy of torture and cruelty, their methods, justifications, functions and consequences both on the victims as well as the perpetrators. . . . The author effectively argues that the occupying Western powers have not only justified their systematic use of torture and cruelty as a regrettable but necessary means of protecting and saving Western civilization from those 'who hate our way of life' but they have also used this argument as a pretext for invading and colonizing those nations that dare to challenge Western politico-economic hegemony. . . . Recommended reading.
Tribune - Will Podmore
In this brilliant and disturbing book [Marnia Lazreg] looks at the intimate relationship between torture and colonial domination through a rigorous examination of French tactics during the Algerian war from 1954-62.
International Socialist Review - Hannah Fleury
The philosophical analyses can be challenging to grasp, but for those looking to better understand the way torture figures into a military occupation, Lazreg's book provides an insightful and detailed account of the Algerian model.
Review of Middle Eastern Studies - Julia Clancy-Smith
As a highly original, yet solid, analysis of the political sociology, psychology, and anthropology of torture, Lazreg's research establishes critical connections between Algeria and the Shock and Awe Campaign of the Second Gulf War with the Bush White House years marked by state terror abroad and at home. . . . This book is required reading for all.
From the Publisher

"In Torture and the Twilight of Empire, Marnia Lazreg draws resourcefully on military history and sociological and cultural analysis to explain how the French colonial state tried to forestall its own collapse by terrorizing the Algerian population in viciously creative ways. She provides a fascinating intellectual history of modern torture; an unflinching empirical account, or 'ethnography of torture.'"--Priya Satia, Times Literary Supplement

"Nothing short of a thorough anatomy of torture and cruelty, their methods, justifications, functions and consequences both on the victims as well as the perpetrators. . . . The author effectively argues that the occupying Western powers have not only justified their systematic use of torture and cruelty as a regrettable but necessary means of protecting and saving Western civilization from those 'who hate our way of life' but they have also used this argument as a pretext for invading and colonizing those nations that dare to challenge Western politico-economic hegemony. . . . Recommended reading."--Muhammad Khan, Muslim News

"In this brilliant and disturbing book [Marnia Lazreg] looks at the intimate relationship between torture and colonial domination through a rigorous examination of French tactics during the Algerian war from 1954-62."--Will Podmore, Tribune

"The philosophical analyses can be challenging to grasp, but for those looking to better understand the way torture figures into a military occupation, Lazreg's book provides an insightful and detailed account of the Algerian model."--Hannah Fleury, International Socialist Review

"As a highly original, yet solid, analysis of the political sociology, psychology, and anthropology of torture, Lazreg's research establishes critical connections between Algeria and the Shock and Awe Campaign of the Second Gulf War with the Bush White House years marked by state terror abroad and at home. . . . This book is required reading for all."--Julia Clancy-Smith, Review of Middle Eastern Studies

Times Literary Supplement
In Torture and the Twilight of Empire, Marnia Lazreg draws resourcefully on military history and sociological and cultural analysis to explain how the French colonial state tried to forestall its own collapse by terrorizing the Algerian population in viciously creative ways. She provides a fascinating intellectual history of modern torture; an unflinching empirical account, or 'ethnography of torture.'
— Priya Satia
Muslim News
Nothing short of a thorough anatomy of torture and cruelty, their methods, justifications, functions and consequences both on the victims as well as the perpetrators. . . . The author effectively argues that the occupying Western powers have not only justified their systematic use of torture and cruelty as a regrettable but necessary means of protecting and saving Western civilization from those 'who hate our way of life' but they have also used this argument as a pretext for invading and colonizing those nations that dare to challenge Western politico-economic hegemony. . . . Recommended reading.
— Muhammad Khan
Tribune
In this brilliant and disturbing book [Marnia Lazreg] looks at the intimate relationship between torture and colonial domination through a rigorous examination of French tactics during the Algerian war from 1954-62.
— Will Podmore
International Socialist Review
The philosophical analyses can be challenging to grasp, but for those looking to better understand the way torture figures into a military occupation, Lazreg's book provides an insightful and detailed account of the Algerian model.
— Hannah Fleury
Times Literary Supplement
In Torture and the Twilight of Empire, Marnia Lazreg draws resourcefully on military history and sociological and cultural analysis to explain how the French colonial state tried to forestall its own collapse by terrorizing the Algerian population in viciously creative ways. She provides a fascinating intellectual history of modern torture; an unflinching empirical account, or 'ethnography of torture.'
— Priya Satia
Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

Marnia Lazreg is professor of sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her books include "The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question".

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Abbreviations xi
Introduction 1

Part I: Imperial Politics and Torture
Chapter 1: Revolutionary-War Theory 15
Chapter 2: Militarization of the Colonial State 34
Chapter 3: Psychological Action 61
Chapter 4: Models of Pacification: From Nietzsche to Sun Tzu 87

Part II: Ethnography of Torture
Chapter 5: Doing Torture 111
Chapter 6: Women: Between Torture and Military Feminism 145

Part III: Ideology of Torture

Chapter 7: Conscience, Imperial Identity, and Torture 173
Chapter 8: The Christian Church and Antisubversive War 191
Chapter 9: Fanon, Sartre, and Camus 213

Part IV: Reflections on Torture
Chapter 10: Moralizing Torture 237
Chapter 11: Repetitions: From Algiers to Baghdad 253

Notes 271
Glossary 309
References and Selected Bibliography 311
Index 323

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2008

    Brilliant study of the torture endemic to colonial wars

    Marnia Lazreg is a Professor in the Sociology Department at Hunter College, the City University of New York. In this brilliant and disturbing book, she studies France¿s war against Algeria '1954-62'. She shows how a militarised colonial state used torture and terror to forestall the collapse of its empire in the age of decolonisation. The political economy of colonial rule required violence, including torture. Once torture was permitted, it became routine. Euphemised as `screening¿ and `pacification¿, its purpose was to enforce obedience. It continued right to the end of the war. The only way to stop it was to end the war. Torture routinely practised was routinely denied. Politicians tried to excuse it as coming from `a few rotten apples¿, as `occasional excesses¿ and `regrettable incidents¿, and blamed the victims, claiming that Algerians `only understood force¿. Novelist Albert Camus condemned the violence by both sides, yet defended France¿s claim to Algeria, which could only be upheld by violence. He supported the settlers against the colonised, using the same arguments as the colonial state, calling for peace and coexistence within colonial rule. Today, apologists for torture like Alan Dershowitz, Michael Walzer, Jean Elshtain and Michael Ignatieff assist politicians who destroy civil liberties at home and cause chaos abroad. Blair seeks solace in confession and God¿s forgiveness, preferring these to democratic accountability. Lazreg shows that despite the cultural differences, French, British and American war practices and rhetorics are similar. Their wars of occupation disguise material and strategic interests as civilising or democracy-building. The French, like the US and British occupiers today, used the rhetoric of women¿s emancipation, claiming that they were `protecting¿ women from Islam. And torture of prisoners was part of every French colonial war, part of every British colonial war, from Malaya in the 1940s to Kenya in the 1950s, Oman in the 1960s and Northern Ireland in the 1970s, and part of the current wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. Finally, Lazreg argues that acts of terror, like any other crimes, do not threaten democracy. They do not even affect democracy ¿ unless states respond by violating democratic rights, as the French state did and as the British and US states are doing. As she concludes, ¿The `war on terror¿ has become a war of terror.¿

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)