Author: Galal Amin

Book review by: Ziad Hafez (**)

Published by: The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo

Year of publication: 2011

Number of pages: 173

ISBN: 978-977-416-400-2


When I saw this book displayed on the shelf of my favourite bookstore I did not hesitate to take it down and purchase it straight away. Galal Amin is a towering figure among Arab economists. He also happens to be the brother of Hussein Amin (2007), the former diplomat and writer of a famous booklet, The Guide of the Lost Muslim, a courageous and scathing critique of Islamic fundamentalists and extremists during the early 1990s. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the author is the son of Ahmad Amin, a noted historian of Arab and Islamic civilization and a prominent figure of the Nahdah, an Arab and Islamic renaissance movement with its origins in the latter part of the nineteenth century. These remarks are important because the author is part of an elite group that shaped Egyptian and Arab intellectual landscape and political life in the first half of the twentieth century, yet apparently no longer so nowadays.

Egypt in the Era of Hosni Mubarak 1981–2011 is a short book consisting of 173 pages. It is an account of Egyptian society during the last 60 years or so. Although the title would suggest a description of the Mubarak era, it is not strictly confined to such and also describes the pre-revolutionary period as well the revolution itself. Mubarak’s era connotes what is essentially the last chapter of the transformations that took place in Egypt following the revolution of 1952. Though the book is an account of these changes, it is also about the author himself.

All throughout the book the reader cannot but sense the author’s pervasive nostalgia for a bygone era. His yearning for pre-revolution days is markedly strong and that does create something of a problem. This is the reason why the author is also among prominent Arab nationalists and in his early youth he was close to the Baath party, an Arab nationalist party founded in the late 1940s taking many of its cues from the Christian Syrian Arab nationalist writer Michel Aflaq. In more direct terms, confessing any sort of yearning for pre-revolutionary years is tantamount to an act of ‘blasphemy’ to any committed Arab nationalist!


Read full text here Egypt in the Era of Hosni MubaraK 1981-2011


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