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Inside Egypt: The Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution Paperback – August 18, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“If you want to understand how Egypt got to this crossroads, read this book.” ―Fareed Zakaria, recommending Inside Egypt as his Book of the Week (CNN)

“Bradley's book suggests Egypt's rupture had clear omens… and was promptly banned by the Mubarak government.” ―New Yorker

“This dark and sober look at contemporary Egypt... offers a compelling explanation for the anger on the streets of Cairo” ―The Christian Science Monitor

“A blistering overview of what it's like to live in this autocratic, hopelessly corrupt society. Terrifically well told and extremely sobering.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“An original, angry, brilliant, subtle, and highly readable exposé of contemporary Egyptian politics and society.” ―Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I Know

“Informed and immensely readable.” ―Literary Review (UK)

“Essential reading for anyone interested in modern Egypt and the looming dramas of the Arab world.” ―United Press International

“In this highly readable and thoughtful volume, Bradley provides a devastating critique of Egypt's [former] dictatorial government.” ―LIBRARY JOURNAL

About the Author

John R. Bradley is a widely published correspondent. Fluent in Egyptian Arabic, he is also the author of Saudi Arabia Exposed, Behind the Veil of Vice, and Tunisian Tsunami. He now divides his time between North Africa and Latin America.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Updated edition (August 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023061437X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230614376
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,256,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I bought Inside Egypt because I greatly enjoyed John R. Bradley's previous book Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis (2005), and also because I have been living in Cairo for the past 14 months learning Arabic and there's no other book on contemporary Egypt out there. Inside Egypt is creating quite a buzz here in Cairo: you can't pick up an Arabic-language newspaper (the independent ones not run by the government, anyway) without finding a profile of the author and/or a review of the book. It has the same qualities that I liked about Saudi Arabia Exposed: a clever combination of personal anecdote, original reportage, and brief historical backdrop, and the arguments are made in a very readable prose style (I finished this book in two stints over two evenings). Inside Egypt is aimed at the general reader, rather than scholars and experts, and it paints a very grim picture from the ground up of life here as lived by most Egyptians. Those non-Egyptian readers living here who know poor Egyptians will easily recognize the world Bradley depicts - families living on the bread line, young people desperate to travel abroad, Christians facing persecution, the rise of fundamentalist Islam. But the book also debunks myths by explaining, for example, why the Muslim Brotherhood are not very popular, and unearths some shocking facts about the country's seedy sex tourism underworld - two subjects I've not seen discussed elsewhere. There are chapters on Torture and Corruption, and well as the Sufi and Bedouin minorities, and some cracking interviews with well-known Egyptians like novelist Alaa Al-Aswany (The Yacoubian Building) and Gamal Al-Banna (brother of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood).Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Bradley writes like a novelist, from his own situation and point of view, and fortunately is an intelligent and perceptive observer who writes beautifully. We are with him as he travels up and down the Nile, interviews leading figures in the major political and cultural groupings, and shares the situation of the abandoned middle class in this police state on the verge of collapse. The reader gains the benefit of his long residence in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, his fluent Arabic, his talent for friendship and his evident love and sympathy for the people he meets. This is a fine example of a more realistic reporting than we have been used to in recent years, free from the point-counterpoint and shouting of the mass media.

Bradley lets us see Egypt in the light of its recent history. In the break-up of empires, Ottoman and British, a military clique seized the government and established party rule modeled on European dictatorships. The new home-grown dictators destroyed as much as they could of the structure of civil society and the deep religious and cultural diversity of Egypt, which they identified with opposition and a colonial past. They sought to erase history itself. Like the dictators of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran, Egypt's rulers slipped steadily into corruption and terror, and are now challenged by a new, Islamist movement that threatens to repeat the cycle of violence and minority dictatorship. The liberal middle class is being steadily destroyed by pressure from both sides: anyone searching for the reason that educated, middle class youth are becoming suicide bombers and soldiers of intifada will find much of the reason in this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book when it first came out and was quite impressed, but deep inside me, thought a revolution will never ever happen in Egypt as Egyptians are used to their rulers abuse since the time of the Pharaohs. But when this happened in January and I had already given my first book to a friend who never returned it, I decided to buy it again. I could not believe my eyes. Every prediction happened, a prophetic book. John Bardley most definitely knows Egypt very well and he best described the corruption, the agony, the ups and downs of all Egyptians. This is a MUST read and keep book. Excellent. Highly recommend it for all those who knew some or nothing about what led to this first, true, and great revolution of a great and wonderful country. One last note, as usual, I ordered the book and a couple of days later I received it. Great service Amazon, thank you and keep it up.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John R. Bradley's 'Inside Egypt' is a journalistic account of contemporary Egypt. It is interesting but hardly surprising. At great length, using multiple examples, it tells us what we already knew about Egypt. Egypt is a poor nation, becoming more radically Islamist each passing day, governed by a corrupt, incompetent and selfish regime which strangles reform and resists change.

For the most part, Bradley eschews analysis for reporting, but what he reports about is depressingly self evident given the general outline. Many of the chapters come with self explanatory titles - "Torture" and "Corruption", for example. Minorities, whether the Bedouin (in Sinai) or the Copts (in Egypt proper), are abysmally treated.

There is an interesting chapter, euphemistically titled "Lost Dignity", about the Egyptian sex industry in its various forms, particularly in that of the "marriage" of Old Western ladies to younger Egyptians, and of male prostitution. It is possibly the most penetrating part of Bradley's book, because it shows that even sex work is shaped by the cultural and religious beliefs of the Egyptians. Even as they make their livelihood from sex, Egyptians maintain a semblance, no matter how twisted, of traditional gender roles and sexual mores.

But for Westerners, most interesting is the political agenda. And Bradley is in a catch 22: his instinct, as summarized by a blurb contribution from the managing editor of Foreign Affair, is to "love [the] country but hate [the] regime". Bradley's sympathies are clearly with the Egyptian people, and against Hosni Mubarak and his government. But as Bradley acknowledges, the Egyptian people are considerably more anti-Western than the regime.
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