In his brilliant, category-smashing book, Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order
(Oxford University Press, 2016), Jeffrey James Byrne
places Algeria at the center of many of the twentieth-century’s international dynamics: decolonization, the Cold War, détente, Third Worldism, the Non-Aligned Movement, and postcolonial state-making. The book is a challenge to the very geography of international history.
Byrne, an associate professor at UBC and one of my MA advisors, packs a lot into this book. Tracing the history of the Algerian War of Independence from 1954 to 1962 and the creation of an independent Algerian state in the 1960s and 1970s, Byrne shows how anticolonial revolutionaries and postcolonial statesmen harnessed the interstate system to advance their cause. The book should be read by anyone interested in the Cold War, South-South diplomacy, and how decolonization both remade and strengthened the interstate system.
Dexter Fergie is a PhD student of US and global history at Northwestern University. He is currently researching the 20th century geopolitical history of information and communications networks. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @DexterFergie.