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Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East Audio CD – Audiobook, CD
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
At first I almost didn't buy it. The topic was intriguing because I have an interest in the Napoleonic wars. But I looked on the back cover and found five intellectually bankrupt quotes from academic reviewers who were, directly or indirectly, trying to draw parallels between Napoleon's invasion of Egypt and the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Only a politically fevered college sophomore, or an academic desperate to be a star at their next wine and cheese party, could make such an equivalency, moral or otherwise. So, I feared for what might be in the book. I bought it anyway, and was pleasantly surprised by most of it.
Cole does an excellent job of taking you through (part of) Napoleon's Egyptian campaign. Using accounts drawn from contemporary journals, he weaves together numerous tales of adventure and misadventure into an interesting whole. At the same time, he provides genuine insight into the complex clash of two very different cultures. That's the good part.
The bad part comes at the end of the book.
Try to imagine yourself listening to a detailed account of a football game; then, when the commentator gets to the fourth quarter, he says: "Then they ran a bunch of plays and everyone went home." That is basically what Cole does to the reader.
The siege of El Arish, the capture and sack of Jaffa and of Gaza, are handled in THREE SENTENCES! The siege of Acre gets a whole paragraph; but the two-month battle, in which a British Naval officer defeated Napoleon on land (!), is reduced to "[Cezzar Pasha] enjoyed naval backing from the British."
Unbelievable!Read more ›
Sounds familiar? It should About 10 pages into the book you get this sense that the same description, the same arguments, the same approach was used by Team Bush. Yet, clearly, such a comparison was not Prof. Cole's purpose or intent.
I had little interest in reading about Napoleon's Little Egyptian invasion. In fact, what little I knew about it bored me. Then, I read this book. It is an eye opener. It is a serious, informative, and enjoyable read, while never lecturing or sounding like a college text.
Cole has a nice touch, and treats every subject he writes on with respect and a scholar's vision. This book is no different.
Whether you are interested in current affairs, and the IraqNam fiasco, or whether you love history, or even if you simply want a good read, I strongly recommend this book.
Unforgettable moments range from the ridiculous to the macabre. Napoleon lets word get out that he might convert to Islam and bring his army with him, in an attempt to curry favor among Muslim clerics, but his army quickly nixes the idea, as the French were unwilling to endure circumcision and give up wine. French officers discover the pleasures and perils of harems. And in a remote desert fortification, one third of Napoleon's soldiers contract a local disease that causes their eyelids to flip inside out and they go blind. An attack comes, and the blind soldiers are pushed to the front by their comrades and told not to fire until the enemy closes to 75 yards.
Juan Cole is a mideast expert and knows Arabic, so he well understands the Egyptian context and can show how locals perceived the French as well as the reverse. He enjoys the occasional victories of the Egyptian underdogs while at the same time retaining empathy for the French as they try to adapt to what becomes a terrible predicament.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quick to point out faults by the western conquerers/liberators but even quicker to defend all actions/reactions/customs of the muslims. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Eric Ausmus
This book is a good account of an episode of history that seems to not get much attention from historians relative to other events taking place in continental Europe at the time. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mr. Chambers
This was a well done book that was very even handed. All the other books about Napoleon in Egypt that I have read have been very pro-French. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Glenn D. Robinson
White European aggression against Muslim Middle Eastern people began with The Crusades; but its "Modern" paradigm was Napoleon's 1798 invasion of Egypt. Read morePublished on July 12, 2013 by jack m
I was about to write 'timely' with regard to Juan Coles book on Napoleons invasion of Egypt in 1798 but that would have been the case if it had been published in 2002/03 prior to... Read morePublished on July 3, 2013 by S Wood
Don't be mistaken! This book does not deal so much with Egypt or even with Napoleon but rather very specifically with his military campaign in that country in 1798. Read morePublished on August 19, 2010 by Pierre Gauthier
Don't be mistaken! This book does not deal so much with Egypt or even with Napoleon but rather very specifically with his military campaign in that country in 1798. Read morePublished on July 30, 2010 by Pierre Gauthier