Sunday, 6 April 2014
"La Grande Guerre des Trafiquants. Le Front Colonial de l'Occident Maghrebin" - an exciting new book about the First World War in North West Africa
Under the Fascinating Facts of the Great War heading comes news just in about an exciting new book. WW1, which was also known as 'The Great War' or La Grande Guerre in French, took place in other areas than the Western Front and "La Grande Guerre des Trafiquants. Le Front colonial de l'Occident Magrebin" (The Great War of Smugglers. The Colonial Front of Western Maghreb) highlights one of those areas.
The book has been written by Francesco CORREALE who is at the University of Tours in France. You can follow Francesco on Facebook and Twitter.
Francesco kindly sent me a brief description of his book and it sounds really exciting for it recounts the history of WW1 in West Maghreb - which is the area of North West Africa shown in the map (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya) to the west of Egypt - from the point of view of the smuggling of weapons. The book allows the reader to discover the vast army of men and sometimes women who managed to smuggle arms - cartridges, rifle parts, powder and other explosives - hidden in bags carried by camels and mules in spite of the state of emergency imposed on the area during the First World War by the French. The smuggling operation was financed by the Ottoman Empire and by Germany.
The book is in French but I have asked Francesco if it is going to be available in other languages and will let you know as soon as I hear. Luckily, French is 'one of my languages' so I will be looking into getting hold of a copy so that I can write a more detailed appreciation.
It is fantastic that the lesser known theatres of the First World War are now being explored and written about.
Map - Google Images