New Edition of Alleg Memoir
The Chronicle reports that the University of Nebraska Press has re-issued Henri Alleg’s The Question, his memoir of torture at the hands of French police during the occupation of Algeria.
French citizens had known vaguely that their colonial authorities were torturing dissidents and suspected terrorists in Algeria, but Mr. Alleg’s essay made that knowledge much more vivid. The French government quickly banned the book’s sale — which, of course, only added to the public frenzy. (The book was legalized in France only after the Algerian war ended, in 1962.)
The Question remains a political touchstone in France, and Mr. Alleg, who is still active in his mid-80s, is a familiar commentator there on the past crimes of French colonialism. But in the English-speaking world, the book has been largely forgotten.
This new edition includes an afterword by Alleg in which he draws comparisons with the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.