THE SECRET ARMY by Geoffrey Bocca


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When the Algerian War ended in 1962, 150,000 Moslems and 17,000 Frenchmen had been killed, the Fourth Republic had fallen and the Fifth had been rocked, one million French colonials were homeless, and one-sixth of the population of Algeria had been ""displaced."" Out of the bitterness that arose over these consequences of war there was born an army of men sworn to keep in existence that anachronism known as ""Algerie Francaise."" For month, this force--the ""Organisation de l'Armee Secrete,"" or ""Secret Army""--did their best, by means of sabotage, assassination, and terrorism--to achieve their aim. Inevitably, however, history overtook the Secret Army and its not-so-secret leaders, and its story ends with the execution of the clique of French officers who were more French than France itself, and with the imprisonment of Salan. Mr. Bocca tells that story, from beginning to end, with verve and only partially disguised sympathy for the impassioned and disarmingly naive military men who saw themselves as ""centurions"" struggling to save the empire that did not wish to be saved. His documentation is excellent, though his accuracy in matters of detail occasionally leaves something to be desired (e.g., Katz is described as a ""General of the Amry,"" whereas in fact his rank, upon retirement, was one grade below that; etc.). On the whole, this is a good and highly readable account of one of the tragic asides of modern history.

Pub Date: May 31st, 1968
Publisher: Prentice-Hall