A Portrait of Egypt A Journey Through the World of Militant Islam

Mary Anne Weaver

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

0374527105

9780374527105

Trade Paperback

288 Pages

$26.00

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For centuries Egypt has been a citadel of Islamic learning and thought, and since the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty in 1979, it has been of immense strategic importance to American interests in the Middle East. But Egypt is also a country in crisis, torn between the old and the new, between unsettled religious revival and secular politics. President Hosni Mubarak favors a secular society. But Mubarak's government faces constant conflict with militant clerics such as Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. In A Portrait of Egypt, Mary Anne Weaver argues that an Islamist victory in Egypt is almost inevitable, and, unlike that of Shi'ite Iran, its impact on the Islamic world will be truly profound.

Based on exclusive interviews with militants and front men, generals and presidents, A Portrait of Egypt is essential reading for anyone trying to understand the far-reaching consequences of the growing impact of Islamist politics and policies on the West.

REVIEWS

Praise for A Portrait of Egypt

"A Portrait of Egypt is a fascinating and thoughtful work that will tell Americans, particularly, facts they didn't know and clarify events they have heard about."—Michael Prager, The Boston Globe

"A textured and highly readable account of a timely and important subject . . . What distinguishes Weaver's work is her skill as a reporter and storyteller."—John Lancaster, The Washington Post Book World

"This look at Egyptian society and politics has a special focus on the rise of militant Islam in contemporary Egypt. Weaver, a foreign correspondent for The New Yorker, has relied on her interviews with a host of Islamic militants as well as high-level politicians to write an absorbing account of the world of militant Islam. She explains how the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan galvanized individuals and groups and resulted in the establishment of a network of radical Islamists in Egypt linking kindred spirits from Pakistan to New Jersey. Perhaps the most controversial argument here is Weaver's belief in the high likelihood of an Islamic victory in Egypt, with far-reaching consequences for the rest of the Arab world. This well-written and highly readable book is recommended for those interested in gaining insight into the world of militant Sunni Islam today."—Nader Entessar, Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama, Library Journal

"A textured and highly readable account of a timely and important subject . . . What distinguishes Weaver's work is her skill as a reporter and storyteller."—John Lancaster, The Washington Post Book World

"A compelling narrative of history and personality . . . Weaver understands Egypt well."—Nicholas Goldberg, Newsday

"Weaver is a gifted writer and observer who has spent a great deal of time and effort trying to understand the complex culture of Egypt and its effects on the entire Islamic world. She conveys the huge gap between Egypt's rich and poor and explains the appeal of political Islam in its many forms (some more radical than others) to the disenfranchised masses. Weaver believes that if Egypt turns 'Islamist' in the way that Iran did in 1979, the effects will be much more dramatic throughout the Islamic world. She explains how the new generation of violent Islamic militants active throughout the world is largely the creation of U.S. policy: when the CIA covertly supported the mujahideen who drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan, it armed, trained and funded those who would become the most implacable enemies of the U.S. Weaver excels at explaining how, even as Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak cracks down on domestic Islamic opposition, the mullahs are gaining control of Egypt's judiciary and educational system. Her interviews with Mubarak, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman (the spiritual mentor of the World Trade Center bombers and, earlier, of some people involved in the assassination of Anwar Sadat) and Naguib Mahfouz are riveting."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Mary Anne Weaver is a foreign correspondent for The New Yorker, and is the author of Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan (FSG, 2002). An Alicia Patterson Fellow for 2001, she and her husband divide their time between New York City and Santa Monica.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Mary Anne Weaver

  • Mary Anne Weaver, a foreign correspondent for The New Yorker, is also the author of Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan. An Alicia Patterson Fellow for 2001, she and her husband divide their time between New York City and Santa Monica.
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