France's Wars in Chad


Product Details

Cambridge University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.88 inches | 1.5 pounds

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About the Author

Nathaniel K. Powell is an historian focusing on the history of postcolonial Franco-African relations. Awarded his PhD from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva, he has published extensively on the history of postcolonial Franco-African relations and on French military interventions in Africa.


'This important book shows that the Franco-Chadian relationship was central to France's post-colonial role in Africa by detailing French involvement in Chad from political independence in 1960 until Hissène Habré's seizure of power in 1982. French interventions in Chad in the 60s and 70s carry important lessons for current French military operations in the Sahel and indeed for foreign interveners more generally: external interventions in the name of stabilisation can lead to long-term instability; they may freeze, rather than help to resolve conflicts ... This is important for historians seeking to understand the nature of Franco-African relations in the post-colonial period, but should also be essential reading for anyone, including policymakers and analysts, with an interest in foreign military interventions.' Tony Chafer, University of Portsmouth
'A superbly informed and riveting account of the first two military interventions of France in Chad. A must-read for any scholar of France or Central Africa, and for anyone wanting to interrogate the roots of France's politics in the region.' Marielle Debos, University Paris, Nanterre
'Covering thirty years of internal conflict in post-colonial Chad, this is an absorbing study of the relationship between the country's acute inequalities and its patronage-based style of government on the one hand, and the nature and persistence of localized rebellion on the other ... The author's insight is to approach conflict in Chad as, at once, a byproduct of the country's partial decolonization and a logical consequence of the socio-political marginalization of entire communities that was intrinsic to the political dispensation established at independence.' Martin Thomas, University of Exeter
'France's Wars in Chad is a must-read book for anyone seeking to understand the complexities of Chadian politics as well as French influence in Africa from the 1960s until the present. Using French diplomatic and military records, Powell (Lancaster Univ., UK) artfully outlines the very complicated motivations and actions of French policy makers and varied Chadian, Libyan, and US stakeholders ... Essential.' J. M. Rich, Choice Magazine
'This meticulously researched, cogently argued, and clearly written study provides a nuanced account of French political and military interventions in Chad during the first two decades after independence.' Elizabeth Schmidt, Journal of Interdisciplinary History
'Based on previously closed military archives, Powell has shown and proved how much involvement France has had (and still have) in the Sahel country of Chad. Using previously unknown exchanges between French presidents from de Gaulle via Pompidou, Giscard d'Estaing to Mitterrand and their Chadian counterparts ... the author manages to both bring to life complicated historical conditions and to show the close personal ties that ruled (and still governs) French African policy.' Ketil Fred Hansen, Modern Times Review
'... the book leaves an impression of the profound untidiness of French-Chadian affairs, and of the misplaced hubris of French African policy more generally. By then, the reader will already have made connections to more recent interventions in regions of instability that aim to contribute externally to internal security.' Roel Van Der Velde, War in History