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Description de l’éditeur
Egypt was the first of the Arab-speaking Muslim countries to come into close contact with modern European states. The experience was not a particularly happy one. It resulted in political and economic subjugation and in the breakdown of her traditional culture and society: but it led also to her emancipation from the Ottoman Empire and to the eventual development of a modern and autonomous Egyptian identity.
The central aim of this book is to trace the history of Egypt during this period of change, from Napoleon’s invasion at the end of the eighteenth century to the Free Officer’s Revolution in the middle of the twentieth. The author describes the effects of European – particularly British and French – involvement on the course of Egyptian history, shown variously for example in her changing trade pattern, in her forced participation in two world wars and in the planning and construction of the Suez Canal. One of these effects was to stimulate the development of Egyptian nationalism and the emergence of her own leaders.
A major factor in the course of Egyptian history, and one of which the author is constantly aware, was the European ignorance of Islamic and Arabic thought and attitudes, which was largely responsible for the misunderstandings and conflicts which characterized the period. The book provides a valuable analysis of interaction between communities with different and sometimes opposing value systems. To understand this interaction is essential to the study of the history, politics and culture of the Middle East.