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Nasser: The Last Arab Hardcover – April 27, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 22 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

According to London-based journalist Aburish, his is the 28th biography of Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970). The statistic says much about the appeal of the Egyptian colonel who forced out King Farouk yet failed to modernize an unwilling nation that adored him. Nasser evicted Britain from Suez and funded the Aswan Dam, but, Aburish concedes, could not lead Egypt out of backwardness, corruption and Islamic extremism. This biography has more politics than life in it, and much repetitive and often contradictory history. Once Nasser joins with dissident fellow officers whom he quickly co-opts, the reader learns little more than that he was always a good husband and father, spurned corruption and suffered early on from the heart trouble and diabetes that killed him at 52. Aburish mourns the lost potential of the man he sees as the greatest figure in the region since Saladin, but acknowledges that the inability to delegate authority to anyone not an incompetent and thus likely to unseat him left Nasser unable to achieve real change. The book attempts to explain Nasser's contradictions regarding relations with America (and the CIA), Russia, Israel and his Arab neighbors, but Aburish is unable to persuade even himself. At one point, for example, Nasser's "heir apparent" Zakkaria Mohieddine quarreled with him "and never saw Nasser again," but 15 pages later he is named prime minister "and seldom met his leader alone." Also marred by a propensity for triteness, this biography is unlikely to appeal to readers beyond those who are fixated on Middle Eastern political turmoil. 8 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

As a result of Gamal Abdel Nasser's popularity within Arab societies, more than a dozen biographies of him have been published. Aburish contributes to them with the advantage of a three-decade's perspective since Nasser's death in 1970, marked by the sympathetic author's frank wrestling with Nasser's political and military failures. Besides construction of the Aswan Dam and possession of the Suez Canal, Nasser left Egypt a mostly rhetorical legacy of Arab dignity through unity. A biographer of several twentieth-century Arab figures (e.g., Arafat, 1998), Aburish presents Nasser's beginnings as a military officer and leader in the 1952 overthrow of the monarchy. Acknowledging him as an orator nonpareil of anticolonialism (sealed by his survival of the 1956 Suez crisis), Aburish closely critiques the difficulties Nasser encountered in translating his sway with the street into successful projects, such as the short-lived merger with Syria. In hindsight, nothing worked; Nasser's Islamist enemies inherited his mantle as champion of pan-Arab nationalism, the complexities of which Aburish, an intellectual moderate, handles adroitly and insightfully. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.5 pounds
  • Hardcover : 432 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 031228683X
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0312286835
  • Dimensions : 6.36 x 1.23 x 9.62 inches
  • Publisher : Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (April 27, 2004)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 22 ratings

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4.0 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5
22 global ratings
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Top reviews from other countries

Miska Arpa
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Biography on Pan-Arabist, Anti-Colonialist Nasser
Reviewed in Canada on May 25, 2014
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Cliente Amazon
4.0 out of 5 stars Jesus ejfjfj de las premisas del ya lo sé que me ha lo que del entreno en y lo del las dos y media y el que y no te tttthe t
Reviewed in Spain on December 3, 2016
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