Lieutenant in Algeria, by Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber
In July 1956, a thirty-two-year-old French journalist and editor was called up as a reserve officer and ordered to embattled Algeria for six months. Some say Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber was drafted so that the government would have relief from his attacks on its Algerian policy in his weekly, “L’Express.” However that may be, Parliament was later advised by the Minister for Algeria that the lieutenant had been given considerably more latitude than other junior officers. “He maintained,” said Robert Lacoste, “the best relations with his superiors, all the way up, even to the General Commander-in-Chief, and with my closest associates.” Conversely, Servan-Schreiber faced the same risks and bruises as his fellow officers, showed competence and courage, and even won some medals. Mission accomplished, and restored to civilian freedom, he promptly fired a salvo of newspaper articles and a book based on his “eyewitness” experiences. Now published in America, it has been widely described as a persuasive indictment of France’s failure in Algeria.
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