Algeria: travel books to read before you go


This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s archives provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip.

The Sword and the CrossThe Sword and the Cross (Fergus Fleming) This wonderfully readable account of the lives of Charles de Foucauld and Henri Laperrine is a like a journey through French historical fantasies about the Sahara and Algeria in particular.

The Conquest of the SaharaThe Conquest of the Sahara (Douglas Porch) Porch tells a rollicking, even sensationalist tale of the often ill-fated French attempt to seize control of the Sahara and their battles with the equally ill-fated Tuareg.

Sahara UnveiledSahara Unveiled (William Langeweische) One of the most carefully written narratives of modern Saharan exploration, this fine book combines sparing prose and an epic journey that begins in Algeria.

Tangier to TunisTangier to Tunis (Alexandre Dumas) In 1846 Alexandre Dumas was asked by the Ministry of Public Instruction in France to travel and write his way around Algeria and the result is a fascinating window into 19th-century circumstances.

Sahara ManThe Sahara Man (Jeremy Keenan) There is no finer academic authority on the Algerian Tuareg than Jeremy Keenan, whose anthropological work in southern Algeria began in the 1960s and is updated with an enlightening return decades later.

Oblivion SeekersThe Oblivion Seekers (Isabelle Eberhardt and Paul Bowles) Paul Bowles provides a biography of this most iconic of travellers as a precursor to Eberhardt’s 11 enthralling stories that vividly bring to life late-19th- century Algeria.

The Star of AlgiersThe Star of Algiers (Aziz Chouaki) This fast-paced novel of cultural conflict in 1990s Algiers is set against the backdrop of music and civil war, two of the driving forces of recent Algerian history.

The Great War of CivilizationThe Great War for Civilisation (Robert Fisk) This weighty tome by the doyen of Western Middle East correspondents includes one of the most searing and compelling studies of the Algerian civil war.

More travel literature reading lists for other destinations can be found here.