In early 2011 Cairo's Tahrir Square briefly commanded the attention of the world. Half a decade later, the international media has largely moved on from Egypt's explosive cycles of revolution and counter-revolution - but the Arab world's most populous nation remains as volatile as ever, its turmoil intimately bound up with forms of authoritarian power and grassroots resistance that stretch right across the globe.
In The Egyptians: A Radical Story, Jack Shenker uncovers the roots of the uprising that succeeded in toppling Hosni Mubarak, one of the Middle East's most entrenched dictators, and explores a country now divided between two irreconcilable political orders.
Challenging conventional analyses that depict contemporary Egypt as a battle between Islamists and secular forces, The Egyptians illuminates other far more important fault lines: the far-flung communities waging war against transnational corporations, the men and women fighting to subvert long-established gender norms, the workers dramatically seizing control of their own factories, and the cultural producers (novelists, graffiti artists and illicit bedroom DJs) appropriating public space in defiance of their repressive and increasingly violent Western-backed regime.
Situating the Egyptian revolution in its proper context - not as an isolated event but as an ongoing popular struggle against a certain model of state authority and economic exclusion that is replicated in different forms around the world - The Egyptians explains why the events of the past five years have proved so threatening to elites both inside Egypt and abroad.
As Egypt's rulers seek to eliminate all forms of dissent, seeded within the rebellious politics of Egypt's young generation are big ideas about democracy, sovereignty, social justice and resistance that could yet change the world.
Jack Shenker is a journalist based in London and Cairo whose reporting has spanned the globe. Formerly Egypt correspondent for The Guardian, his coverage of the Egyptian revolution received multiple prizes. In 2012 his investigation into the deaths of African migrants in the Mediterranean was named news story of the year at the prestigious One World media awards.
"Jack Shenker pulls no punches in his examination of the post-Nasser Egyptian establishment and its venal and murderous ways.... It is stirring stuff, compellingly reported and powered by a tenacious empathy for the underdog in a country where the rich have taken - in many cases plundered - almost everything from under the noses of the poor...." (Justin Marozzi, Sunday Times)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Wras on 15-02-17
Omitted truth equals alternative facts
Wasted my money, thought I was going to get a history of modern Egypt that would reveal some of the current problems, but what I got was a very twisted alternative history with omissions so large it was impossible to accept as anything but propaganda that whitewashes the soviet involvement in Egypt and totally negates the Islamic brotherhood influence on the country's history plus totally skipping any mention of the Islamic influence. Everything is simplified to blame globalisation and capitalism the only evil in the world.
If you like to base history on anecdotal stories and hearsay this is the book if you like reading propaganda this also is the book. I prefer a balanced history where many influences create a reality not a single sided tale to make all one simplistic answer.
8 of 16 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Adventure Boy on 01-03-17
A political screed, not a history
The narrator is fine, better than most authors. The book, however, is not balanced and calls Egypt’s economy “free” even though the state plays a big role and connections are key. The author then criticizes the “free” economy because it allows firms to make profits while laborers lose their jobs. The author also credits all complaints against the authorities and dismisses out of hand their version of events. Perhaps there is truth to the allegations he repeats, but there is no way for a reader to know and I do not care to take the author's obviously biased word for it. I had thought this was going to be a history, but the author is lazy and does not support his positions, so it is more like a colorful opinion piece.
By Christopher Russell on 17-01-17
great look into economic inequality in egypt
fascinating book which perfectly demonstrates the issues with neoliberalism. already had a physical copy, written so well I bought it twice.