Alistair Horne

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Sir Alistair Horne
CBE FRSL
Born (1925-11-09) 9 November 1925 (age 91)
London, England
Notable work A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962
The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916

Sir Alistair Allan Horne CBE FRSL (born 9 November 1925) is a British journalist, biographer and historian of Europe, especially of 19th and 20th century France. He has written more than 20 books on travel, history, and biography.

Early life and education[edit]

Horne was born on 9 November 1925.[1] He is a son of Sir Allan Horne (died 1944)[2] and Auriol (née Hay-Drummond),[3] niece of the 13th Earl of Kinnoull. He was educated at Eastacre, then Ludgrove School when it was at Cockfosters and described Ludgrove as a place of "humbug, snobbery and rampant, unchecked bullying" which he thought was intended to toughen the boys up.[4]

As a boy during World War II, Horne was sent to live in the United States. He attended Millbrook School, where he befriended William F. Buckley, Jr., who remained a lifelong friend. Horne served in the RAF in 1943–44 and later as an officer in the Coldstream Guards from 1944 to 1947. He graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge as a Master of Arts (MA) and in 1993 received the degree of LittD from the University of Cambridge.[1]

Personal life[edit]

He lives with his wife Sheelin in Oxfordshire.[5]

Career[edit]

Horne worked as a foreign correspondent for The Daily Telegraph from 1952 to 1955. He is the official biographer of British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, a work originally published (in two volumes) in 1988. Horne is an Honorary Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, and a cricket enthusiast.

The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 received the Hawthornden Prize in 1963.[5]

Horne's 1977 book A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962 received the Wolfson Prize in 1978.[5] A Savage War of Peace, which took its title from a phrase used in Kipling's 1898 poem The White Man's Burden analysed the Algerian War from the French viewpoint rather than the Algerian viewpoint, but was essentially sympathetic to the FLN.[6] Horne had lived in Paris in the 1950s, had followed the war closely and despite his Francophilia had opposed the Suez War of 1956 as an act of aggression against Egypt and the French bombing of the Tunisian village of Sakiet Sidi Youssef in 1958 as a war crime.[7] Horne argued in A Savage War of Peace that during the war itself the FLN had created a sense of Algerian nationalism amongst the masses and the very inflexibility of the FLN had left Charles de Gaulle no other choice other than to grant Algeria independence in 1962.[8] The Iraqi-born British historian Elie Kedourie in a column published in The Times Literacy Supplement vigorously attacked Horne as an apologist for terrorism, accusing him of engaging the "cosy pieties" of bien-pensants as Kedorie condemned those Western intellectuals who excused terrorism when committed by Third World revolutionaries.[9] Kedourie attacked Horne for claiming that it was the French who were responsible for the fact that most of the Algerian Muslims lived in conditions of dire poverty, through he acknowledged that Horne was correct that the racial barriers between the pied-noir and Muslim communities were a source of tension.[10] Kedourie challenged Horne's account that racism on the part of the French had caused the war, instead arguing that the FLN were a ruthless and very small group of intellectuals organised along Leninist lines who took advantage of French liberal democracy to wage a very brutal terrorist campaign that targeted both the French and any Muslim who was not with them.[11] Kedourie argued that the fact Algeria had been a one-party dictatorship under the FLN since independence in 1962 was the "natural" result of the totalitarian mindset of the FLN.[12] Kedourie argued that by 1958 the French were clearly winning the war and by 1959 had broke the back of the FLN.[13] Kedourie argued that de Gaulle was the "master of the situation" and could had ensured that the Algerian Muslims would be granted equal rights with the pied-noirs, but instead blinded by other ideas of French greatness chose to grant Algeria independence, cynically sacrificing the colons and the harkis as Kedourie charged that de Gaulle had chosen to disregard his constitutional oath as president to protect all the French to ensure that "the French withdrew and handed over power to the only organized body of armed men who were on the scene-a civilized government thus acting for all the world like the votary of some Mao or Ho, in the barbarous belief that legitimacy comes from the power of the gun".[14] Kedoruie's review set off much debate at the time and marked the beginning of a historical debate about the legitimacy of terrorism to achieve political goals that continues to this day.[15]

Following the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962 came to be of much interest to American military officers, having been recommended to U.S. President George W. Bush by Kissinger. In October 2006 the book was republished and in January 2007, by phone from his home in England, Horne was invited to take part in an Iraq War discussion panel on the Charlie Rose Show on PBS. It was reported, in the 2 July 2007 edition of the Washington Post, that Horne met with President Bush sometime in mid-2007 at the administration's request."[16] He described his visit in a Daily Telegraph article.[17]

Horne was offered the authorship of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's official biography but declined due to the daunting amount of work involved and his age, but opted instead to write a volume on one year in Kissinger's life (Kissinger: 1973, The Crucial Year, 2009).[citation needed]

Selected works[edit]

  • Return to Power: A Report on the New Germany. New York: Praeger, 1956. OCLC 184441
  • The Land is Bright. 1958.
  • Canada and the Canadians. Toronto: Macmillan, 1961.
  • The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1962. Reissued in 1963. OCLC 397845
  • The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune, 1870-1. London: Macmillan, 1965. OCLC 401286 Revised edition: Penguin Books 2007, ISBN 978-0-141-03063-0.
  • To Lose a Battle: France 1940. London, Macmillan, 1969.
  • Death of a Generation Neuve Chapelle to Verdun and the Somme 1970
  • The Terrible Year: The Paris Commune, 1871. London, Macmillan, 1971.
  • Small Earthquake in Chile: A Visit to Allende's South America. London: Macmillan, 1972. (Expanded edition, 1990.)
  • A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962. London: Macmillan, 1977. ISBN 0670619647
  • Napoleon, Master of Europe 1805–1807. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979. ISBN 0297776789
  • The French Army and Politics, 1870–1970. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1984.
  • Harold Macmillan. New York: Viking Press, 1988. [Official biography]
    • Volume I: 1894-1956
    • Volume II: 1957-1986
  • A Bundle from Britain. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993.
  • Montgomery, David (co-author). Monty: The Lonely Leader, 1944–1945. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.
  • How Far from Austerlitz? Napoleon, 1805–1815. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996. ISBN 0312155484
  • Horne, A. (ed.).Telling Lives: From W.B. Yeats to Bruce Chatwin. London: Papermac, 2000.
  • Seven Ages of Paris. London: Macmillan, 2002. American ed., ISBN 0679454810
  • The Age of Napoleon. New York: Modern Library, 2004. ISBN 1588363643
  • Friend or Foe: An Anglo-Saxon History of France. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004. ISBN 0297848941
  • La Belle France: A Short History. Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. ISBN 1400041406
  • The French Revolution. Carlton Books, 2009.
  • Kissinger: 1973, The Crucial Year. Simon & Schuster, June 2009. ISBN 9780743272834
  • But What Do You Actually Do?: A Literary Vagabondage. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2011. ISBN 029784895X
  • Hubris: The Tragedy of War in the Twentieth Century. Harper, 2015. ISBN 9780062397805

Honours and awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Alistair Horne". Pan Macmillan. Retrieved 2016-04-06. 
  2. ^ Francine du Plessix Gray (1994-09-11). "'The Only Childhood I Ever Had'". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2016-01-11. 
  3. ^ "Person Page 13347". Thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2016-01-11. 
  4. ^ Horne, Alistair (2012). A bundle from Britain. Macmillan. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-4472-3177-6. 
  5. ^ a b c "Alistair Horne". Bookreporter.com. Retrieved 2016-04-06. 
  6. ^ Brett, Michael "Anglo-Saxon Attitudes: The Algerian War of Independence in Retrospect" pages 217-235 from The Journal of African History, Vol. 35, No. 2, 1994 page 226.
  7. ^ Brett, Michael "Anglo-Saxon Attitudes: The Algerian War of Independence in Retrospect" pages 217-235 from The Journal of African History, Vol. 35, No. 2, 1994 page 226.
  8. ^ Brett, Michael "Anglo-Saxon Attitudes: The Algerian War of Independence in Retrospect" pages 217-235 from The Journal of African History, Vol. 35, No. 2, 1994 page 226.
  9. ^ Brett, Michael "Anglo-Saxon Attitudes: The Algerian War of Independence in Retrospect" pages 217-235 from The Journal of African History, Vol. 35, No. 2, 1994 page 226.
  10. ^ Brett, Michael "Anglo-Saxon Attitudes: The Algerian War of Independence in Retrospect" pages 217-235 from The Journal of African History, Vol. 35, No. 2, 1994 page 226.
  11. ^ Brett, Michael "Anglo-Saxon Attitudes: The Algerian War of Independence in Retrospect" pages 217-235 from The Journal of African History, Vol. 35, No. 2, 1994 page 226.
  12. ^ Brett, Michael "Anglo-Saxon Attitudes: The Algerian War of Independence in Retrospect" pages 217-235 from The Journal of African History, Vol. 35, No. 2, 1994 page 226.
  13. ^ Brett, Michael "Anglo-Saxon Attitudes: The Algerian War of Independence in Retrospect" pages 217-235 from The Journal of African History, Vol. 35, No. 2, 1994 pages 226-227.
  14. ^ Brett, Michael "Anglo-Saxon Attitudes: The Algerian War of Independence in Retrospect" pages 217-235 from The Journal of African History, Vol. 35, No. 2, 1994 page 227.
  15. ^ Brett, Michael "Anglo-Saxon Attitudes: The Algerian War of Independence in Retrospect" pages 217-235 from The Journal of African History, Vol. 35, No. 2, 1994 pages 226-227.
  16. ^ "A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  17. ^ "Comment: editorials, opinion and columns - Telegraph". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-21.