The Secret Things of God

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AuthorHouse, 2003 - Religion - 224 pages
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The story of modern Egypt is more than just a cavalcade of colourful personalities. To get beneath the skin of the Egyptians themselves it is essential to recognize the pressures to which they have so long been subjected; to understand how, overburdened by history and exiled from power in their own land, they have been elbowed out by foreign manipulation to a point where explosive action was the only remedy.

From the time that Napoleon brought Europe to Egypt in 1798, few areas of the globe have aroused more passions than this ancient land. Napoleon's own dreams of glory were short-lived, but he paved the way for Mohammed Ali the rogue' Pasha that Palmerston wanted to chuck in the Nile' to found a dynasty and very nearly take over the whole Ottoman Empire with his fellah armies. Less astute, his son Said was hoaxed by de Lesseps over the Suez Canal concession, and his grandson Ismail precipitated a British occupation with the de facto reign of the hard-line proconsuls such as Cromer and Kitchener.

Although the British presence brought prosperity to Egypt and security for monarchs like Fouad and Farouk, it also caused growing frustration to the multiplying mass of the Egyptian people. Finally Gamal Abdel Nasser put an end to the ancien régime and threw the Europeans out again to embark on his astonishing career as aspirant leader of the Arab world.

In this entertaining book, Raymond Flower unfolds the panorama of events, from the arrival of Napoleon to the death of Nasser, not only as it appears to an historian, but also to the man in the street in Cairo. Well qualified to do so, having lived there for part of the historic span he covers, Mr. Flower has known most of the significant figures in the days of Farouk as well as in the revolutionary Egypt, and thus is able to give an enthralling and well-balanced account of a vital period in recent history.

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