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|Title||:||القاهرة في الحرب العالمية الثانية|
|Number of Pages||:||440 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
القاهرة في الحرب العالمية الثانية Reviews
Through an entertaining string of vignettes, all told from the British point of view, Cooper paints an entertaining picture of what life was like for the military and civil service expats who were part of the Allies' African war effort based out of Cairo (and to a lesser extent Alexandria). The best way to describe this is probably 'history lite' though there is indeed a fairly large dose of WWII era history here. But it's the social structure and expat mores, as well as the civil service infighting, that make up the real core of the book. I'm not sure there's much to be learned by reading this book as a stand-alone in order to study the nitty-gritty of the Allies' African and Mediterranean efforts, but as a companion piece to other, more history-laden resources, it's rich color commentary offering a somewhat less heroic, albeit more human, overview of what life during wartime--but mostly away from the dangers of the battlefront--might actually have been like.
I first read parts of this book in 1994, when I was travelling through Egypt. Many of the vestigages of the English influence were still evident throughout Cairo. I commend the author for tackling such a fascinating subject. So many interesting writers and artists fled to Cairo during WWII, and it was interesting to read how they got along (or didn't.) Lawrence Durrell, Olivia Manning, Randolph Churchill...the list goes on and on. The one drawback to this book is that it didn't really talk much about the Egyptian experience. I'm not sure if this is a fair criticism, since the whole focus of the book is supposed to be on the English expats of the time. Still, it was kind of abrupt when the English pulled out and King Farouk was sent packing and Egypt was left like Oz or Wonderland...a strange place to visit, but quickly forgotten once you left. As far as I'm concerned, Egypt is one of the main characters of this story, and to leave her high and dry seemed a bit disrespectful.
Despite containing footnotes and references, Artemis Copper’s Cairo in the War is less concerned with making an argument about its eponymous topic than it is providing an accessible narrative of the period under study. Despite not being particularly academic, however, the dearth of genuinely scholarly material on Cairo during World War II makes this work, at the very least, an interesting read and a potential source of information. It even attempts to offer a social, rather than high political, history, albeit one that is told from the perspective of the British. Nonetheless, the book should be evaluated not as an academic study of Egypt, but as a popular historical account of a period of British rule in the country.Cooper begins with a brief historical background chapter that is not nearly as Orientalist in nature as it could be, although the work overall feels as if it were compiled from the perspective and biases of someone writing two or three decades prior to its actual publication date. She then introduces the major personalities of her period of study, most notably King Farouk, his ally Ali Maher Pasha, and the British Commissioner Sir Miles Lampson, before delving into the war years. She provides some context for British rule in Egypt at the onset of the war, arguing that, as a strategic center, Egypt was of some importance to the British, but they had to rebuild the military infrastructure that had fallen apart after World War I. Ali Maher, as Prime Minster, curried disfavor quickly with the British by doing everything he could to prevent Egypt from declaring war against the Axis and, after he was dismissed, he was replaced by an even less popular successor from the Wafd, Hasan Sabry Pasha. Some of the military history of the first year of the war is intertwined into this portion of the narrative and is expanded upon in the next chapter, which highlights the defeat of the approaching Italian forces. This victory, however, caused a rift between the indigenous population and the British, with the former believing that they should be rewarded because their support was essential and the latter feeling that the Egyptians should be more grateful for their presence.After this chapter, however, appearances by the indigenous population become much less frequent and the structure of the narrative begins to vacillate between military history and the social hijinks of a British expatriate population that seemed oblivious to the conflict. The author’s overarching theme, as suggested by her prologue, is the way in which life overall changed very little in Cairo during the war, and the way in which people acted as if nothing was happening. Beginning in spring of 1941, Germany emerged as the primary antagonist and their early military victories raised that nation’s stature in the eyes of the Egyptians, who were increasingly eager to escape the British occupation. The Germans were also much better in terms of propaganda, particularly as they, unlike the British, were able to support Arab nationalism (at least in their discourse). This led sizeable sectors of the population, most importantly students, to support the Germans and seek ways in which the British position could be undermined. The situation was not helped by the destructive boredom of the British troops, problems of administration, and the deteriorating economic conditions whose impact hit hardest for the poorest sections of society.Further military setbacks led to a reorganization of critical command staff during the winter of 1941-1942, a development that Cooper juxtaposes against the flourishing of English literature in wartime Cairo. Returning briefly to the political situation, she chronicles how the deteriorating situation led to the downfall of Hasan Sabry’s successor, Hussein Sirry, and his replacement by Nahas Pasha, who clashed with both the British and the King. He possessed considerable popular support, however, leading the British to formulate a plan for deposing Farouk. Although the threat was not carried through, the attempt to do so roused further ill-will among the local population. Furthermore, Nahas’ collusion with the British led to a loss of credibility for the Wafd and more radical organizations began to gain substantial popularity. In May 1942, meanwhile, the Germans captured Tobruk, which placed them in striking distance of Alexandria. The increasingly likely possibility of German occupation led many Egyptians to prepare to switch allegiance, while panic set in for others as they came to realize that a German presence was not a particularly attractive prospect.Such circumstances, however, did not come to pass, and the arrival of Bernard Montgomery in Northern Africa shifted Britain’s military fortunes and led to Rommel’s defeat. It also signalled the arrival of an increased American presence in Cairo, which led to tensions with the British soldiers. By spring 1943 Egypt’s postwar future was a subject of consideration, which catalyzed opposition factions, led by Makram Ebeid, to publish a book of political scandals in March 1943. This bolstered popular dissatisfaction with both the party and British and gave the palace an opportunity to distance itself from both groups. With the final victory over Axis Africa occurring in May 15, 1943, the population became less willing to tolerate the British presence and intrigues, and they were only angered further as the British helped keep the increasingly unpopular Nahas in power.The remainder of the work narrates the increasingly hostile situation in Cairo as the war drew to a conclusion. The British took more advantage of their martial control over the city as concerns about communist infiltration rose, particularly when a meeting between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Chiang Kai-Shek took place in Egypt. The rise of malaria in spring 1944 caused concern, particularly in regards to the impact that it had on the countryside, and contributed further to discontent that was transformed into nationalist sentiments and support for radical organizations. Nahas was eventually replaced by Ahmed Maher, but this did little to ameliorate the situation, and he was assassinated shortly after helping pass a declaration of war against the Axis, in the hopes that Egypt would be able to participate in the peace process.Cooper’s epilogue reinforces the idea that life in Cairo, particularly for the British, was affected very little by the war, although she does point out that the discontent fostered during the period was critical to providing popular support for the 1952 Revolution. Thus, even though her work is not an academic text, it is useful in providing an accessible portrayal, context, and perspective for the era that can be built upon by scholars seeking to apply a historically and theoretically rigorous analysis to the subject. Taken for what it is, a popular history of Britain with special reference to Egypt (as opposed to a history of Egypt), this book can be considered valuable, but for scholars it will probably hold little more than casual interest. Even in this context, however, it is not perfect, as contextualizing details are often missing and the jumpiness of the narrative can make it difficult to follow. Overall, however, if one was interested in the subject, Cairo in the War would be a fine place to begin.
This book doesn't quite do what its title suggests. It does give a very readable account of how the Second World War affected Cairo (and, to some extent, the rest of Egypt), but only from the viewpoint of the various ex-pat communities - particularly the British - and the Egyptian elite. From 1914 onwards, the relationship between Britain and Egypt was a complicated one; although not technically part of the Empire, the British seem to have treated it as such, and the Egyptians naturally bridled at this. When WW2 started, this distrust led to all sorts of problems throughout the war, leading ultimately to British expulsion from the country after the war.This book gives a straightforward account of events; concentrating understandably on the period of the Desert War. The changing military and political situation are handled well, and there is much about the bungling and rivalries that always seem to appear in such situations, as well as the machinations around the palace of King Farouk.My one criticism is that there is nothing much about the majority of the population of Cairo (or Egypt). A lot of the material is about the social and cultural world of ex-pat Cairo; interesting as this is, it was a very narrow world and the author seemed more comfortable with this material than with some of the more complex issues going on elsewhere.
Excellent mix of social and political history - well told.
دردشة ذكية و ممتعة عن القاهرة و اهلها فى الاربعينات
One the one hand, a life-and-death struggle in the desert between Axis and Allies; and on the other, a glittering social whirl in the colonial capital. Cooper does an admirable job of detailing Cairo's wartime history, and is especially good at showing how revolutionary tensions suddenly and completely ended Britain's colonial presence.
Fascinating book covering many aspects of Egypt at this time. Very easy to read.
I pulled this book from a pile of donations at our local library as the photo on the cover, British soldier walking with a woman in uniform, caught my attention. Plus I am always interested in the smaller picture of WW II rather than the great big picture. It was interesting to see the war from a niche perspective, though the soldiers and officers would hardly consider it in this manner. It was mostly from the British perspective (how they manipulated the political scene ) and the palace intrigue of King Farouk.Then came the revolution (1951-52) and the great fire which resulted in the total destruction of that symbol of British Colonialism, Shepheard's Hotel. It was later rebuilt and is now undergoing renovation, I think.