• The dark reality of an earlier war on terrorism
•Algeria's bitter struggle for ‘independence', 1954-1962
•A frightening and relevant warning from history
In late 1956 Aussaresses was ordered by General Massu, the head of the French army in Algiers, to set up a counter-terrorist unit to stop terrorist activity in the city of Algiers. This constitutes the main part of this book. It details the methods, including torture and execution, and the results obtained by the paratrooper commando units led by Major Aussaresses. In mid-1957 he returned to France and was no longer involved in the Algerian war. He retired after having served as a training officer of US Special Forces at Fort Bragg in 1966.
No French army officer had ever spoken up in such detail on the subject of torture during the bloody eight-year conflict that led to Algeria's independence until this book was first published. General Paul Aussaresses decided to break the silence and reveal the bitter truth of the war on terrorism as the French army fought it in the late 1950s. While many, including François Mitterrand, who was the Interior, and later, Justice Minister [and future President of France], knew and approved of torture and summary executions in Algeria between 1954 and 1962, the extent of the French government's involvement and that of its official representatives on the spot in Algiers had never been revealed until now.
The original edition sold over 100,000 copies in France.
"A disturbing and sensational memoir!”- The Wall Street Journal, 17 October 2001
"Once you have seen with your own eyes as I did, civilians, men, women, and children quartered, disemboweled and nailed to doors [by the rebels], you are changed for life. What feelings can anyone have towards those who perpetrated such barbaric acts and their accomplices?” - General Paul Aussaresses, quoted in Le Monde, 4 May 2001