The Struggle for Egypt From Nasser to Tahrir Square - Steven A. Cook (2012)
Publication Date: October 7, 2011 | Series: Council on Foreign Relations (Oxford)
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 linchpin 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 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 might be headed next. 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.
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.
"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
"Incredibly vivid...the single best book on Egypt"--Fareed Zakaria
"[An] excellent new book." --The Christian Science Monitor
"From his wanderings on the Arab streets of Cairo (and dozens of other Arab and Turkish towns), 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
"[A] detailed account of the build-up to revolution and how recent developments were organized . . . Cook, who is intimately familiar with Egypt and its political and cultural history, begins from Nasser\'s 1952 coup, providing broad context for his discussion." --Kirkus Reviews
"Tell<span style="text-decoration:line-through"> the story of Egypt in rich detail, beginning with Nasser and on to Sadat and Mubarak." --Nancy Youssef, Washington Week
"Jumping from the chaotic byways of Cairo to the highest reaches of international diplomacy, this providentially-timed account of modern Egyptian history combines immersion journalism with insightful policy analysis. A Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Cook translates an insider\'s perspective for a general readership." --Publishers Weekly
"A sweeping history of modern Egypt, this timely book will appeal to foreign policy professionals, academics and the general public. It is a reliable single source for understanding the flow and complexities of Egyptian politics, especially since the 1952 revolution."--Daniel Kurtzer, Professor, Princeton University, and former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Israel
"The fact that The Struggle for Egypt is exceptionally timely should not obscure its more lasting merits: this is an accessible, knowledgeable, fair-minded and very useful examination of the last sixty years of Egypt\'s political history, including moments of great pride and
decades of deep frustration. Anyone pondering the challenges and opportunities confronting Egypt-and Egypt\'s allies-after the January 25th Revolution would do well to start with this lucid account."--Lisa Anderson, President, The American University in Cairo
"Cook\'s timely, well-written history offers the 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
"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
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.
Hardcover: 424 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (October 7, 2011)