Every great city deserves a book like this one: a sweeping chronicle by an author whose motives mix passion and bewilderment. Over the course of four and a half millennia, Cairo has eluded all who would try to pin it down, reinventing itself time and again: "It has survived countless invasions, booms and busts, famines, plagues, and calamities." Author Max Rodenbeck, a correspondent for the Economist, moved to Cairo as a 2 year old, and has spent a good portion of his professional life working there. He finds himself repulsed by the crowds and pollution of a late 20th-century megacity, yet drawn by Cairo's ageless vibrancy. Cairo: The City Victorious combines wide-ranging history and first-person travelogue in an unconventional narrative that bounces easily from the present to the past and back again. ("If the story were to loop and tangle and digress," he writes, "well, that too would be in the character of Cairo.") Immersed in Rodenbeck's prose, readers will find themselves feeling at home as they discover (or rediscover) this unique place, its pyramids, and its people. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the awesome artistic trove of its 5000-year-old civilization to the high-rise buildings that dominate the skyline today, Cairo is evoked in all its dizzying variety in this rich, surprisingly concise history. Rodenbeck, the Economist's Middle East correspondent, has lived in Cairo since childhood and is not shy to admit that he has, on occasion, fallen "out of love" with his chaotic, noisy adopted home?the largest city in Africa, the Mediterranean and the Islamic world. He's especially dismayed at the city's current past-obliterating rush toward the trappings of global capitalism. But he notes, with characteristic wryness, that "not one generation in Cairo's five millennia of incarnations had failed to whine about decline." Eleven loosely chronological chapters fuse history with a contemporary travelogue. These include looks at Cairo's most ancient known civilization, On (credited with creating the modern-day solar calendar), of which virtually nothing remains today; medieval Cairo, "a prosperous and astonishingly cosmopolitan trading society" boasting a legal system far more humanistic than its European counterparts; and British-occupied Victorian-era Cairo, a chic stop for tourist hordes. He also examines the influence of 20th-century rulers, from King Farouk's corrupt reign to Anwar Sadat's nationalistic (and decidedly not pan-Arab) vision. Finally, Rodenbeck explores Cairo's current identity crisis and flirtation with Islamic fundamentalism: even in this most tolerant and bawdy of cities (it is, after all, the "belly-dancing capital of the world"), women are likely to don "retro seventh century" robes for the streets. Rodenbeck's tour brings this and other such quintessential Cairene paradoxes into rare focus.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
great city and its stories and history are fascinating, having lived there I can attest to its wonderful storied roads and lanes filled with mystery... Read morePublished 15 months ago by w*
Very enjoyable book with sufficient detail and a lively style. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone travelling to Egypt.Published 17 months ago by matthew hazard
No book has fully captured the essence and spirit of Cairo the way this book did. Written with thorough research and an awe inspiring eye for detail that could only come from an... Read morePublished on February 26, 2012 by Arwa
An outstanding concise insightful documentation of not only the history of one of the oldest and greatest cities of the world, but of Egypt in total. Read morePublished on December 4, 2010 by Wael Habib
Max Rodenbeck wrote this book as though, he was speaking to me on a cafe, somewhere by the Nile.I am Egyptian, and thought I knew a lot about Cairo, but after reading this, its a... Read morePublished on August 14, 2007 by Nancy Y. Sadiq
This is a generally well-written and decently translated history of the Egyptian capital. There is more information and detail than you want at times, but the personal stories and... Read morePublished on December 21, 2006 by Blue in Washington
Max Rodenbeck, who has lived much of his life in Cairo, reveals the city through its long and varied history--from the Creation myth of On to the year 2000 with its "quickening... Read morePublished on September 13, 2006 by Judith K. Parker
I'll be visiting Cairo next month so i wanted to read something about this city.The book is not bad when it comes to history. Read morePublished on August 21, 2006 by Jorge I. Villanueva
This book was a fun and quick read. I would have probably given it 2.5-3 stars had it not been for the overrated reviews already given the book and the fact that this book was... Read morePublished on June 29, 2002