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The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square

Thursday 25/January/2018 - 10:03 AM
Sada El Balad

The recent revolution in Egypt has shaken the Arab world to its roots. The most populous Arab country and the historical center of Arab intellectual life، Egypt is a lynchpin of the US's Middle East strategy، receiving more aid than any nation except Israel. This is not the first time that the world and has turned its gaze to Egypt، however. A half century ago، Egypt under Nasser became the putative leader of the Arab world and a beacon for all developing nations. Yet in the decades prior to the 2011 revolution، it was ruled over by a sclerotic regime plagued by nepotism and corruption. During that time، its economy declined into near shambles، a severely overpopulated Cairo fell into disrepair، and it produced scores of violent Islamic extremists such as Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mohammed Atta.

In this new and updated paperback edition of The Struggle for Egypt، Steven Cook--a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations--explains how this parlous state of affairs came to be، why the revolution occurred، and where Egypt is headed now. A sweeping account of Egypt in the modern era، it incisively chronicles all of the nation's central historical episodes: the decline of British rule، the rise of Nasser and his quest to become a pan-Arab leader، Egypt's decision to make peace with Israel and ally with the United States، the assassination of Sadat، the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood، and--finally--the demonstrations that convulsed Tahrir Square and overthrew an entrenched regime. And for the paperback edition، Cook has updated the book to include coverage of the recent political events in Egypt، including the election of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi as President.

Throughout Egypt's history، there has been an intense debate to define what Egypt is، what it stands for، and its relation to the world. Egyptians now have an opportunity to finally answer these questions. Doing so in a way that appeals to the vast majority of Egyptians، Cook notes، will be difficult but ultimately necessary if Egypt is to become an economically dynamic and politically vibrant society.

Series: Council on Foreign Relations (Oxford)
Author: Steven A. Cook
Paperback: 456 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (March 1، 2013)
Language: English
Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.5 x 6.1 inches

About the Author
Steven A. Cook is the Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. A leading expert on Arab and Turkish politics، Cook is the author of Ruling But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt، Algeria، and Turkey.

Editorial Reviews

"Incredibly vivid...the single best book on Egypt."
--Fareed Zakaria

"A timely، well-researched and lucid political history that sweeps back to the origins of the praetorian dynasty that has ruled Egypt since the 1952 military coup."
--The Economist

"With meticulous historical context and the acumen of a political scientist، Cook، a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations، weaves together a narrative drawn from archives، interviews and his own firsthand reporting during a decade of visits to Egypt.... What Cook has given us is a scholar's well-informed، analytical history، which offers invaluable insights to anyone interested in how Egypt came to its present impasse...a substantial and engaging book."
--New York Times Book Review

"An excellent new book."
--The Christian Science Monitor

"Cook brings the revolution to life. But he does so with the depth of knowledge of someone who has understood the dynamics of Egyptian--indeed، Arab autocracy--for years."
--Slate

"Timely، well-writtenELthe best up-to-date review of Egypt's modern political history through the opening months of the revolution that brought down Hosni Mubarak. His account of how the 1952 Egyptian revolution produced the Nasserist authoritarian regime is more relevant today than ever، as is his discussion of the final years of the decaying Mubarak regime--including intriguing new evidence about Gamal Mubarak's activities."
--ForeignPolicy.com، Best Books on the Middle East، 2011

"Cook's Struggle for Egypt is not just another Arab Spring book but one with lasting relevance for Egypt watchers. With 30 pages of footnotes، a 40-page bibliography and a comprehensive index، it is full of useful reference material، while personal anecdotes provide local flavor and add to the overall appeal.... Even those who know Egypt well will learn something new from this fresh presentation of events."
--Middle East Policy

"The Struggle For Egypt، is a timely، well-researched and lucid political history that sweeps back to the origins of the praetorian dynasty that has ruled Egypt since the 1952 military coup." --The Economist

"Cook's Struggle for Egypt is not just another Arab Spring book but one with lasting relevance for Egypt watchers. With 30 pages of footnotes، a 40-page bibliography and a comprehensive index، it is full of useful reference material، while personal anecdotes provide local flavor and add to the overall appeal... Cook's exploration of the history of the regime and the dynamics it produced help place current events in context and provide important insights about how the main protagonists are likely to respond to the evolving order. Even those who know Egypt well will learn something new from this fresh presentation of events." -- iddle East Policy

"Cook is a compelling writer who has a knack for memorable openings and knows how to appeal to both a scholarly audience and the interested general reader. The treatment of the recent political changes in The Struggle for Egypt is a master-class in how popular historians can cover sudden developments while still maintaining a focus on a longer period." -- Matthew Partridge، London School of Economics (June 2012)

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