WOLVES IN THE CITY by Paul Henissart

Hart Davis 1971. ISBN 978-0246640024

The story of the last years of French colonial rule in Algeria. In the epilogue, Henissart says, "What they ( French Algerians ) really wanted was some sort of guarantee that they could remain on viable terms in their birthplace, whether it endured under French sovereignty was secondary. The strongest ties were to a specific piece of real estate, not to the tricolor."

He suggests that the settlers' best chance would have been to support a new Algerian state, but in reality they overwhelmingly hoped for an apartheid regime backed by a French military coup.

When this didn't happen, the OAS chose outright terror against the Muslim population and at independence most of the 1.000.000 Europeans (out of a population of 9.000.000) fled the country.

I needed patience but Paul Henissart effectively shows the disconnection from reality of the "pieds noirs". He wrote this memorable book only 10 years after the events and it's based on first hand interviews with the main actors.