The history of Algeria provides here a kind of archetype of all that has been
encompassed by the relationship between “Islam and the West” in terms of
“extremism.” In the Algeria of the 1970s, the author’s political
consciousness became shaped relatively late, not in response to the
disparity in wealth distribution—but when, within the field of colonial
history, he discovered the scale of the distortion between the arguments and
tropes of his “inherited culture” and the ones that developed from his own
initial scholarly readings in history.