Back in November 2010 Yale published the aptly-titled Egypt on the Brink by Tarek Osman, a lively account of Egypt, its recent history and the increasingly febrile political situation. Within months, the Egyptian people had risen in protest against the regime and President Mubarak was forced to resign. Today he stands trial. In a fully-revised and updated edition of Egypt on the Brink, Osman continues the extraordinary story of the February 2011 protests, and discusses their implications for Egypt and the rest of the world.
It has been a year of historic events for the people of Egypt, and today is no exception. Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt with an iron fist for 30 years, stands trial to face charges of corruption and unlawful killing. Appearing in the dock behind the bars of a specially constructed metal cage, Mubarak now must answer to the people that so forcefully ousted him after 18 days of demonstrations in what is now called the ’2011 Egyptian Revolution’. But how did we get here? How did a country known in the 1950s for its religious pluralism and cultural heritage end up riven by corruption and chaos?
The Egyptian writer Tarek Osman is certainly the best person ask. Born and raised in Egypt, Osman is now regarded as one of the word’s leading experts in modern Egyptian history and a regular commentator on the country’s unfolding political situation.
His presciently-titled book Egypt on the Brink: From Nasser to Mubarak was published last year to universal acclaim. Preempting the uprising to come, Osman recognised the country as an increasingly repressive and divided land. In his book Osman explored what happened to the biggest Arab nation since President Nasser took control of the country in 1954. He examined Egypt’s central role in the development of the two crucial movements of the period, Arab nationalism and radical Islam; the increasingly contentious relationship between Muslims and Christians; and perhaps most important of all, the rift between the cosmopolitan elite and the mass of the undereducated and underemployed population, more than half of whom are aged under thirty.
In his new edition entitled Egypt on the Brink: From the Rise of Nasser to the Fall of Mubarak (published soon) Osman brings the reader up to speed with the current events in Egypt, detailing the historic demonstrations in January and February 2011 and the overthrowing of Mubarak. In the updated edition Osman places these events firmly in context with the Arab Spring movement that continues to shake the Middle East and North Africa. Whatever the outcome of Mubarak’s trial, and indeed the ensuing conflict in Libya, the events of February 2011 will be remembered for many years to come.
To read an extract from Egypt on the Brink, as well as Victoria Clark’s Yemen: Dancing on the Heads of Snakes and Martin Evans and John Phillips’s Algeria: Anger of the Dispossessed please download our free sample Crisis in the Arab World.
Visit Tarek Osman’s Author Page
Read an interview with Tarek Osman by Foreign Policy Magazine