Book presentation: Papa, qu’as-tu fait en Algérie ? Enquête sur un silence familial (La Découverte, 2020) / Dad, what did you do in Algeria? An investigation into a family silence

With author Raphaelle Branche (Paris Nanterre)

vis branche

Discussants: Andrea Brazzoduro (Venice/MFO), James McDougall (Trinity College) and Robert Gildea (Worcester College)
Chair: Judith Rainhorn (MFO)


From 1954 to 1962, more than 1.5 million young French people left to do their military service in Algeria. Since then, veterans are said to have failed to share their experiences with their families. Silence would continue to haunt these men and their loved ones. As a historian, Raphaëlle Branche put this vision to the test of the decades that have passed since the conflict.

Thanks to this investigation, it is the place of the Algerian war in French society that is clarified: if silences are true, their causes are less personal than familial, social and, ultimately, intertwined with historical frameworks of memory. Over time, these silences have changed, and new narratives have become possible. 


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