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The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World, Second Edition Paperback – September 4, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1842778753 ISBN-10: 1842778757

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 395 pages
  • Publisher: Zed Books (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842778757
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842778753
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Nawal el Saadawi writes with directness and passion, transforming the systematic brutalisation of peasants and of women in to powerful allegory." -- New York Times Book Review
"Scorching" -- New Internationalist
"A powerful indictment of the treatment of women in many parts of the Middle East." -- Labour Herald
"Woman at Point Zero should begin the long march towards a realistic and sympathetic portrayal of Arab women." -- Middle East International
"A dramatic symbolised version of female revolt against the norms of the Arab world." -- The Guardian
"El Saadawi has a flair for melodrama and mystery." -- International Journal of Middle East Studies

About the Author

Nawal El Saadawi was born in 1931, in a small village outside Cairo. Unusually, she and her brothers and sisters were educated together, and she graduated from the University of Cairo Medical School in 1955, specializing in psychiatry. For two years, she practiced as a medical doctor, both at the university and in her native Tahla. From 1963 until 1972, Saadawi worked as Director General for Public Health Education for the Egyptian government. During this time, she also studied at Columbia University in New York, where she received her Master of Public Health degree in 1966. Her first novel Memoirs of a Woman Doctor was published in Cairo in 1958. In 1972, however, she lost her job in the Egyptian government as a result of political pressure. The magazine, Health, which she had founded and edited for more than three years, was closed down. From 1973 to 1978 Saadawi worked at the High Institute of Literature and Science. It was at this time that she began to write, in works of fiction and non-fiction, the books on the oppression of Arab women for which she has become famous. Her most famous novel, Woman at Point Zero was published in Beirut in 1973. It was followed in 1976 by God Dies by the Nile and in 1977 by The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World. In 1981 Nawal El Saadawi publicly criticized the one-party rule of President Anwar Sadat, and was subsequently arrested and imprisoned. She was released one month after his assassination. In 1982, she established the Arab Women's Solidarity Association, which was outlawed in 1991. When, in 1988, her name appeared on a fundamentalist death list, she and her second husband, Sherif Hetata, fled to the USA, where she taught at Duke University and Washington State University. She returned to Egypt in 1996.
In 2004 she presented herself as a candidate for the presidential elections in Egypt, with a platform of human rights, democracy and greater freedom for women. In July 2005, however, she was forced to withdraw her candidacy in the face of ongoing government persecution. Nawal El Saadawi has achieved widespread international recognition for her work. She holds honorary doctorates from the universities of York, Illinois at Chicago, St Andrews and Tromso. Her many prizes and awards include the Great Minds of the Twentieth Century Prize, awarded by the American Biographical Institute in 2003, the North-South Prize from the Council of Europe and the Premi Internacional Catalunya in 2004. Her books have been translated into over 28 languages worldwide. They are taught in universities across the world.  She now works as a writer, psychiatrist and activist. Her most recent novel, entitled Al Riwaya was published in Cairo in 2004.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William Garrison Jr. VINE VOICE on September 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It appears that most of Saadawi's books were written and published during the early 1980s, with nothing really new thereafter, besides reprints. She had her own website in 2009, in which she noted her displeasure with U.S. President Obama's speech to Muslims in Cairo, Egypt. In HIDDEN FACE OF EVE she reveals that she is anti-capitalistic, and supports some form of a socialist economy. In HIDDEN FACE OF EVE she clearly establishes herself as Egypt's most outspoken feminist. She opposes any genital mutilation of girls, and rails against fundamentalist Arab governments that curtail educational opportunities for women, and rebukes the Muslim cultural norms whereby men prevent women from having the same `human rights' that men have: easy divorce, owning property, voting, dating, etc. She was imprisoned for a month in 1981 for opposing Egyptian Pres. Sadat's recognizing the existence of the Jewish state of Israel. Rather than recognizing the stronger fighting spirit of Israeli soldiers during the 1967 Six Day War, or the lack of battle stamina of the Arab soldiers, Saasadawi offered a novel idea as to why the Israeli military routed the Palestinians from Palestine: because the Palestinian males were so afraid that the Israeli soldiers might abuse captured Palestinian women, instead of defending their homeland, "one of the factors that forced the Arabs to leave the West Bank of Jordan during the 1967 war was their desire to protect the `honour' of their womenfolk" (p. 2); flee, instead of fighting! Heroism, indeed! The author faults the psychologist Freud in misunderstanding women (p. 152). She writes a lot of detailed analysis in explaining why the male-dominated Muslim culture so oppresses women. She rebukes the Islamic idea that women are Satan's handmaidens.Read more ›
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gagewyn on December 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Hidden Face of Eve is a collection of short essays on female suppression in Egypt including female circumcision and the imporance of the hymen in society. Saadawi is a female doctor in that region. She begins by describing her own circumcision which was forced and traumatic and done when she was a very young girl. She goes on to describe many cruel things that she saw as a doctor including botched circumcisions and mutilations done to brides to get a good bleed on the wedding day and prove that the woman had a hymen. Each chapter is kind of a mini-essay on some topic off of these themes. The chapters feel as if they are meant to stand alone. There is a lot of overlap from one chapter to the next, and the book feels more like parts than a whole.

If the subject matter is what you are looking for then you will get a lot of it here. Much of what Saadawi is saying is anecdotal and based on what she saw or had heard of as a doctor rather than gathered statistical data. This makes sense in that this isn't the type of information that lends itself to surveys. Much of it deals with really private and painful experiences. It might be good to temper this with a more mathemathical approach so that this would bring the feeling for the people involved but there would be big picture objectivity from elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dee on December 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Women in the Arab world and many parts of the world throughout human history have been abused beyond belief! We cannot turn a blind eye toward how male dominance, religious control, ridiculous myths have been created and continue while the female gender is brutally treated. Educate a woman, change the world! Nawal El Saadawi's books should be read by the world!
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By Gee on January 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
needed this for school. loved that it came fast and in great condition. i would recommend to any student to buy here if they need this.
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