The Forgotten Summer.

Author:Wells, Rhona
Position::Book review
 
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With warmth, compassion and a deep understanding of la France profonde, Carol Drinkwater delves into one of the dark legacies of the French colonial era in Algeria--the return of the Pied Noir to their French homeland, in the early 1960s, a situation rarely addressed in contemporary literature, not least because it is still capable of ruffling feathers on both sides of the divide. The Pied Noir, or black feet, were the hundreds of thousands of French citizens, French passport holders, white Europeans born on Algerian soil, who had held sway over Algeria for more than 150 years.

In the summer of 1962, a French family, the Cambons, decided to flee their Algerian home as violence in the North African state reached its zenith. After eight years of bloody conflict, with violent extremes on both sides, Algeria had finally achieved its independence, prompting more than 900,000 French to flee the country, fearing reprisals from Algerian nationalists with a score to settle against the hated French colonisers. Widely despised in Algeria, the Pied Noir found little favour among their French countrymen when they returned back. The Forgotten Summer, follows the fortunes of one such family as they leave North Africa and attempt to carve out a new life in the South of France. Oozing with Provencal charm, the book follows the frequently rocky path of the two feisty Cambon sisters who, after fleeing Algeria, battle relentlessly to save the beleaguered...

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