Cook’s book is a fundamental read to understand the significance of Mohamed Morsi’s election in 2012, and also provides a very detailed account of Egypt’s modern (political) history. Starting with the rise of Nasser in 1952, in this book Cook unpack the troubled relationship between Islamists, democrats and the military in Egypt, also offering an insightful account of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political development.
The recent revolution in Egypt has shaken the Arab world to its roots. The most populous Arab country and the historical center of Arab intellectual life, Egypt is a lynchpin of the US's Middle East strategy, receiving more aid than any nation except Israel. This is not the first time that the world and has turned its gaze to Egypt, however. A half century ago, Egypt under Nasser became the putative leader of the Arab world and a beacon for all developing nations. Yet in the decades prior to the 2011 revolution, it was ruled over by a sclerotic regime plagued by nepotism and corruption. During that time, its economy declined into near shambles, a severely overpopulated Cairo fell into disrepair, and it produced scores of violent Islamic extremists such as Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mohammed Atta. In The Struggle for Egypt, noted regional specialist Steven Cook explains how this parlous state of affairs came to be, why the revolution occurred, and where Egypt might be headed next. A sweeping account of Egypt in the modern era, it incisively chronicles all of the nation's central historical episodes: the decline of British rule, the rise of Nasser and his quest to become a pan-Arab leader, Egypt's decision to make peace with Israel and ally with the United States, the assassination of Sadat, the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood, and—finally—the demonstrations that convulsed Tahrir Square and overthrew an entrenched regime.