A History of Modern Tunisia

Publication Year



Kenneth J. Perkins, Ph.D. 1973.

Kenneth Perkins's second edition of A History of Modern Tunisia, updated with a new chapter, carries the history of this country from 2004 to the present, with particular emphasis on the Tunisian revolution of 2011 – the first critical event of that year's Arab Spring and the inspiration for similar populist movements across the Arab world. After providing an overview of the country in the years preceding the inauguration of a French protectorate in 1881, the book examines the impact of colonialism on the country, with particular attention to the evolution of a nationalist movement that secured the termination of the protectorate in 1956. Its analysis of the first three decades of independence, during which the leaders of the anticolonial struggle consolidated political power, formulated a series of economic strategies, and promoted a social and cultural agenda calculated to modernize both state and society, assesses the challenges that they faced and the degree of success they achieved. The final chapter brings the book up to the present, examining the 2011 revolution and Tunisia's part in the Arab Spring. No other English-language study of Tunisia offers as sweeping a time frame or as comprehensive a history of this nation.

  • Most up-to-date history of modern Tunisia on the market
  • First comprehensive history of modern Tunisia in English
  • Integrates cultural and artistic trends into narrative of the development of the modern state

Table of Contents

A political who's who of modern Tunisia

The march to Bardo, 1835-1881

Whose Tunisia? 1881-1912

Squaring off, 1912-1940

Redefining the relationship, 1940-1956

The independent state sets its course, 1956-1969

Regime entrenchment and the intensification of opposition, 1969-1987

Constancy and innovation in the "new" Tunisia, 1987-2003

A revolution for dignity, freedom, and justice.


"This new edition of [Perkins'] history brings the story up to post-2011 revolution times and examines how Tunisia’s intelligentsia and leaders have dealt with currents, frequently in the ascendant, drawing the country towards Europe and the opposing currents moving her towards the Arab world, the Middle East, and traditional (usually Islamic) values." Kenneth W. Meyer, African Studies Quarterly

2nd edition
Cambridge University Press
New York
ISSN Number
Cloth: 9781107024076; paper: 9781107654730