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Algiers, Third World Capital by Elaine Mokhtefi

Algiers, Third World Capital

Algiers, Third World Capital by Elaine Mokhtefi
Hardcover
Aug 07, 2018 | 256 Pages
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    Sep 10, 2019 | 256 Pages

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Praise

“Elaine Mokhtefi’s newly published autobiographical account of her life as an engaged anti-imperialist provides an ideal occasion to reconsider the politics of ‘Third Worldist’ internationalism linking Black Power, European radicals, and anti-colonial militants during [the late sixties].”
—Eugene Brennan, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Mokhtefi (née Klein), a Jewish American from Long Island, has had an exhilarating life … In the nineteen-sixties, she served as a press adviser to the National Liberation Front in postwar Algiers, before going to work with Eldridge Cleaver, who was wanted in the US for his role in a deadly shoot-out with Oakland police. Half a century later, as an eighty-nine-year-old painter living on the Upper West Side, Mokhtefi still seasons her prose with the argot of revolution.”
New Yorker

“A fascinating insider’s account of the Black Panthers’ exile in Algiers in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Legendary figures take to the stage in the world capital of the national liberation movements: Ahmed Ben Bella, Frantz Fanon, Eldridge Cleaver. Mokhtefi was a key intermediary between the Panthers and the FLN during her own time in Algiers, and a militant anti-imperialist. This is a clear-eyed, first-hand recollection of the way things fall apart.” —Jeremy Harding, author of Border Vigils

“Extraordinary … written with great humility and with love.”
—Ben Ehrenreich, Guardian

Mokhtefi handles some spectacular material in brisk, modest fashion. The inevitable doubts and conflicts that arise are not agonized over…Mokhtefi focuses less on how her political allegiances developed than on telling, in lively, lucid fashion, what happened and who did what … it [seems] possible that this readiness to minimize herself on the page is related to whatever capacity allows a person, over the years, to participate in politics, navigating the compromises involved.
—Lidija Haas, Harper’s

“The story she tells in her book is one of intrigue, political and otherwise. It is also about a revolution trying to create a government equal to its ideals in the face of very powerful enemies. Mokhtefi writes as a believer in the revolution, but does not hesitate to critique some of the twists and turns it took over the years she was part of the government.”
—Ron Jacobs, CounterPunch

“A return to a time when Algiers was Mecca and the Vatican for revolutionaries. Indeed, at the time Amilcar Cabral said: ‘Muslims go on pilgrimage to Mecca, Christians in the Vatican and national liberation movements in Algiers.’”
—Kader Bakou, Le Soir d’Algerie

“The behind-the-scenes work of post-WWII liberation movements comes to the fore in this gripping memoir from Mokhtefi … she makes palpable the turmoil and fervor of her experience there while sharing unbelievable stories previously known only to their participants.”
Publishers Weekly

“A memoir of international radical activism, from helping Algeria and Africa shake the yoke of colonialism to helping the Black Panthers establish a revolutionary outpost in exile … A firsthand account of a time when so much seemed up for grabs.”

Kirkus

“Mokhtefi artfully weaves together these various strands of radical struggle, while enriching our understanding of the Third World with personal anecdotes … this story reminds us that the Third World was not merely a destination. It was also a fabric of people woven together, even if the patchwork was sometimes unexpected, and at other times, imperfectly sewn.” Muriam Haleh Davis, Public Books

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