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Algiers, Third World Capital

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  141 ratings  ·  16 reviews
A fascinating portrait of life with the Black Panthers in Algiers: a story of liberation and radical politics

Following the Algerian war for independence and the defeat of France in 1962, Algiers became the liberation capital of the Third World. Here, Elaine Mokhtefi, a young American woman who had become involved in the struggle and worked with leaders of the Algerian Revo
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Verso
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Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Un document historique, un récit touchant et une autobiographie d'une drôle d'américaine témoin de la naissance de l'Algérie indépendante et de la désillusion que fut la période Boumediene. Si la plupart des anecdotes racontées par Elaine Mokhtefi n'ont rien de grandes révélations pour le lecteur algérien, elles sont d'un grand intérêt pour l'histoire des Black Panthers et leur période algérienne.

Quatre étoiles
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A riveting read. Some empirical errors, some facts overshadowed by opinions. I have learnt a lot more about the characters of the former Black Panther Party - they were human and very much flawed.

Some affirmations made to me by the author: it is true that Algerians are nosy about some issues, however, in a way we are tight lipped and do not interfere in serious issues that do not concern us. Here is something that is reflected by the relationship between the former BPP and the Algerian governmen
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gossipy autobiography centered around the years Mokhtefi spent in Algeria, with an impressive list of famous names who changed the world. As a narrative it placed too much emphasis on name dropping for me, and I found Mokhtefi's fascination with serial rapist Cleaver shocking and puke enducing.

Beyond that it is without doubt a historical document that will help in reconstructing part of how a number of inspired Algerians and non-Algerians worked to help Algeria achieve international support i
Stephen King
Elaine Mokhtefi has certainly led an interesting life. As part of a new wave of American leftists in the 1950s she lived in Paris and elsewhere in Europe, helping liberation movements get organised, promote themselves and secure recognition at the UN. She was an early foreign supporter of the Algerian independence movement, the FLM and ended up, post independence, in Algiers. She also helped set up the Algiers bolthole for the Eldridge Cleaver-led part of the Black Panther Party, following the ‘ ...more
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Agreable a lire, ajoute une perspective a des faits en relation avec l'Algerie.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mokhtefi was there: when Paris dissolved its post-war shell, when Algeria gained its independence, when the Black Panthers went international, she was there as a fly on the window, a generous host and so much more. Her prose is straightforward and clear and her voice is incomparably hers - who would have a perspective like hers?

Reading this book is history's improbable window opening - carefully, gently, mysteriously, and ultimately irresistible.
Sarah At
Elaine Mokhtefi est une américaine qui a contribué à faire connaître la cause algérienne pendant la colonisation française, à côté de nos représentants algériens aux nations unies. Elle n’a visité l’Algérie qu’après l’indépendance, et elle s’est installée à Alger et y vécue 12 ans, travaillant comme journaliste et traductrice, ce que lui a permet de côtoyer des personnalités importantes, elle a même aidé les Black Panthers dans leur exil en Algérie.
Considéré comme la capitale de la révolution, l
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

There are few people on earth alive who are as cool as Elaine Mokhtefi. The historical struggles of Algerians under French colonialism and imperialism are often underlooked in the radical movement in the West nowadays (extremely disturbing, as they are too busy establishing Democratic Socialism modeled on Western European nations that long have exploited and still exploiting the Global South). Algeria triggered the anti-imperialist movement in Africa and has so much to offer in the movement-
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Star ratings are of course such an arbitrary thing that doesn't mean much when you have mixed feelings about the book. I enjoyed reading it, and I'm happy I read it. I would definitely recommend it - it was such a quick read. I learned a lot from it, especially - as others have noted - about the Black Panthers. Perhaps the person we learn the most about in the book is Eldridge Cleaver (I understand how close she was to him and how her view is legitimately biased but I have to admit it was quite ...more
Odd little memoir. Elaine Mokhtefi an American who gravitates to France in the 1950s. As a leftie she befriended African causes fighting colonialism and attached herself to the goal of Algerian independence. In a relationship with one of its players she parlays that into a job working for the international arm of the new Algerian independence government. Algeria became something of a clearing house for international revolution and Mokhtefi worked with the African branch of the Black Panthers. Sh ...more
Joseph Spuckler

Algiers, Third World Capital by Elaine Mokhtefi is a memoir and history of an American involved in the newly independent Algeria. Mokhtefi was born in New York. After the Second World War, she joined the youth movement for world peace and justice, becoming director of a militant student organization. In 1951 she settled in France as a translator and interpreter for international organizations in the new postwar world. In 1960, she joined a small team in New York as part of the Algerian National
Sean Estelle
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This was an interesting story to read, and helped fill in some political context that I was missing; but, at the same time, because it's deliberately written as a first-person reflection on really big political events, it also jumps around a lot and is incoherent at times. Doesn't totally detract from the book, and I would definitely read it if you're interested in the Black Panthers + Third World revolutionary solidarity - but the format did get distracting at times.
Carlos Martinez
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa, imperialism
A fascinating, vibrant and engaging memoir from someone that had been witness to, and sometimes participant in, some key moments in 20th century politics, including the Algerian Revolution, the formation of the International Section of the Black Panther Party, and the Pan-African movement in the 60s and 70s. An exciting story told with skill, humour and humility.
Yannick Becht
Full of information about the history of the Algerian revolution, the Black Panters and ties to the US.
Interesting background stories, detailed about the characters involved and the roles they played.
Vuk Trifkovic
Extremely interesting stuff. Mainly focused on BPP, but stories so crazy, that it's OK if others get less airtime or that it's actually not *that* insightful about Algiers itself or that writing is pretty amateurish.
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The world needs more devoted rebels like Elaine Mokhtefi.
Matthieu Guyonnet-duluc
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Sep 11, 2019
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Sara Salem
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Author Interview 1 1 Sep 12, 2018 11:07AM  

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Elaine Mokhtefi was born in New York. After the Second World War, she joined the youth movement for world peace and justice, becoming director of a militant student organization. In 1951 she settled in France as a translator and interpreter for international organizations in the new postwar world. In 1960, she joined a small team in New York as part of the Algerian National Liberation Front, lobby ...more

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