Selected Women’s Autobiographies on the Algerian War

Women’s Autobiographies


The linked titles of the autobiographies are connected to an entry in GWonline that provides you with an abstract and additional information.


As a Frenchwoman born in 1936 Algeria, Alice Cherki was an 18-year-old medical school student in Algiers when the Algerian War (1954–62) broke out, and, unlike many of her French compatriots, she supported Algerian independence. This French-language book, half memoir, half diary, presents a valuable perspective into a little-known dimension of the conflict as a young, ambitious woman navigated the volatile political and relational territory the war created.

Wikipedia site on Alice Cherki


This gripping insider’s account chronicles the author’s decision in 1950s Algiers to join the armed wing of Algeria’s national liberation movement. When the movement’s leaders turned to Drif Thora (born 1934) and her female colleagues to conduct attacks in retaliation for French aggression against the local population, they leapt at the chance. Their actions were later portrayed in Gillo Pontecorvo’s famed 1966 film, The Battle of Algiers. This book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand not only the anti-colonial struggles of the twentieth century and their relevance today, but also the specific challenges that women often confronted (and overcame) in those movements.

Wikipedia site on Zhora Drif


In her French-language autobiography, Guedj presents a unique perspective into the every-day life of a French family in Algeria before, during, and after the Algerian War (1954–62). She evokes nostalgia for the Algeria before the war — its cinema, its theater, even its excesses — and presents firsthand accounts of the interactions between Algerian Arabs and Jews as well as the inescapable, profound impact of French culture and language on the people.