journal of world history, december 2013 By Sword and Plow: France and the Conquest of Algeria. By jennifer e. sessions. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2011. 365 pp. $49.95 (cloth). The 1830 French conquest of Algiers has long been recognized as the key turning point in modern North African history. Jennifer Sessions's book, By Sword and Plow: France and the Conquest of Algeria, underscores the event's central importance in the history of modern France. Her clear and thoughtful analysis of the cultural history of nineteenth-century French imperialism, based on wide-ranging written and visual sources, convincingly portrays the 1830 invasion as a watershed moment in modern world history. Moreover, this illuminating study of the interaction between political and cultural forces in the foundational stage of France's North African empire continually evokes comparisons with the cultural and political dynamics of American imperialism in the early twenty-first century. The French Revolution of 1789 generated conflicts over political sovereignty and male citizenship reflected in the imperialist iconography that provides much of the material for this book. Prior to the 1830 invasion of Algeria, there had been two French empires--the West Indian colonies centered on sugar production and the empire created by Napoleon
Journal of World History – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: May 5, 2013
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