From empire to exile

History and memory within the pied-noir and harki communities, 1962–2012

By Claire Eldridge

From empire to exile


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8723-3
  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £75.00
  • Published Date: July 2016
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Europe / France, Humanities / History, History, History, France, European history
  • Series: Studies in Modern French History


This book explores the commemorative afterlives of the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62), one of the world's most iconic wars of decolonisation. It focuses on the million French settlers - pieds-noirs - and the tens of thousands of harkis - the French army's native auxiliaries - who felt compelled to migrate to France when colonial rule ended.

Challenging the idea that Algeria was a 'forgotten' war that only returned to French public attention in the 1990s, this study reveals a dynamic picture of memory activism undertaken continuously since 1962 by grassroots communities connected to this conflict. Reconceptualising the ways in which the Algerian War has been debated, evaluated and commemorated in the subsequent five decades, From empire to exile makes an original contribution to important discussions surrounding the contentious issues of memory, migration and empire in contemporary France that will appeal to students and scholars of history and cultural studies.


'Eldridge's book provides an outstanding model to build on.'
Darcie Fontaine, University of South Florida, H-France Review Vol. 17 (March 2017), No. 53

'All in all, Eldridge has provided us with a fuller understanding of the evolution in the postcolonial terrain of memories and by extension, the terrain of identities constitutive of French society, which emerged in reaction to the Algerian War. From Empire toExile will no doubt remain indispensable reading for those interested in the role played by memory in decolonization.'
Professor Sung-Eun Choi, Bentley University, Reviews in History May 2017

'Well constructed and meticulously argued. Highly recommended.'
M. L. Scott, York College of PA, Choice, July 2017


Claire Eldridge is Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Leeds



Winner of the RHS Gladstone Prize


Part I: The Era of 'Absence', 1962-91
Emergence, 1962-75
1. Creating a community
2. The sounds of silence
Consolidation, 1975-91
3. Creating an identity
4. Breaking the silence
Part II: The 'Return' of the War of Independence, 1991-2012
Acceleration, 1991-2005
5. Hardening attitudes
6. Speaking out
Memory wars, 1999-2012
7. Friends and enemies
8. Champs de bataille

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