From award-winning journalist Jack Shenker, The Egyptians is the essential book about Egypt and radical politics.
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.
"Inspirational.... [Shenker's] analysis is acutely clear-sighted, given the chaos of recent events. The book mixes a hawk's eye view of the forces of global capitalism as applied to Egypt with a vivid worm's eye view of what it is like to be caught up in a revolution. This is a passionate book, but not an unbalanced one...it tells stories that need to be told, and which have been widely ignored." (George Arney, Independent)
"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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great look into economic inequality in egypt
- Valerie Russell