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Soldiers, Spies and Statesmen: Egypt's Road to Revolt [Hardcover]

Hazem Kandil
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

12 Nov 2012
Revolutions are difficult to understand, let alone predict. Egypt's revolt last year was no exception. The military's abandonment of Mubarak confused many observers, who had always assumed that the leader and the generals stood or fell together. But as the violence of the transitional period discredited the armed forces, academics fell back in relief on the same age-old assumptions about officers who rule from behind the scenes and change the figures on stage to preserve the status quo. In a challenge to this conventional view, Hazem Kandil presents the revolt as the latest episode in an ongoing power struggle between the three components of Egypt's authoritarian regime: the military, the security services and the political apparatus. Through a detailed study of the interactions within this invidious triangle over six decades of war, conspiracies and social transformation, the book presents the first systematic analysis of how Egypt metamorphosed from a military to a police state, and what that means for the future of its revolution.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books (12 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844679616
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844679614
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.3 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


""Soldiers, Spies and Statesmen" serves as an indispensable read for anyone seeking clarity on the ongoing struggle between the military, security and political apparatuses of Egypt's autocracy."--"World Policy Journal""Hazem Kandil has written a brilliant revisionist account of the origins of the Egyptian Revolution. He focuses on how the regime's repressive forces fell apart, making revolution possible. I found it eye-opening and convincing--a triumph."--Michael Mann, author of "The Dark Side of Democracy""This is a fascinating book that should be required reading for anybody interested in Egypt's past and what happens next. It gives a unique insight into what the military and security forces were thinking and doing, and why they were not the monolithic force that most had imagined."--Patrick Cockburn, author of "The Occupation""Meticulous documentation, engaging style and skilful weaving of complex phenomena into a coherent narrative."--"Times Higher Education""By placing the struggle between the military, security forces, and the presidency at the heart of Egyptian politics and then mining a rich trove of relevant information, Kandil provides the most coherent, persuasive account available--from the rise of Nasser to the fall of Mubarak."--Robert Springborg, Department of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School"The best account of Egypt's central power structure in the last two decades."--Roger Owen, author of "The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life""If you want to understand the underlying forces and mechanisms of Egypt's recent revolutionary turmoil, you couldn't find a more informative book than this ... an invaluable contribution to our understanding of Middle Eastern political and our comprehension of its mechanism of revolutionary change in general."--"Morning Star"

About the Author

HAZEM KANDIL is a political sociologist whose work examines military - security institutions and revolutionary movements, with a special focus on the Middle East. He has taught at the American University in Cairo and the University of California, Los Angeles. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Cairo.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SEMINAL WORK 28 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This a seminal work on egypt on par with P J Vatikiotis NASSER AND HIS GENERATION. kandil provides a thoroughly revisionist approach which is impecably sourced with all the egyptian sources he can get his hands on.His analysis of the competition between the security forces,the army and the politicians,is convincing and provides the best explanation of the Mubarak overthrow.His debunking of Sadat is more than welcome in view of the ludicrous Western hagiographyof the man. As an Alexandrian Greek with three books on the Middle East in my country,i admit I am in awe when accessing this book
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read 15 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a must read for any student of modern Egyptian politics. Kandil provides a phenomenal and detailed analysis of the interplay between the three power centers in the Egyptian bureaucracy, namely the military, the intelligence services and the interior ministry.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book for the past of egypt 14 Feb 2013
By Kawkaw - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book talks mainly of egypts past since 1954 and what leads to the 2011 revolution. I recommend this book to everyone living outside of egypt.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening 2 Jan 2013
By Ido Tavory - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Kandil offers a history of Egypt, and its revolts and coups, through a lens that will surely make him one of the most important sociologists studying the Arab spring, and political drama more generally. Kandil tells the story from the assumption (that makes perfect sense in the case of Egypt) that we have to analyze the army and the internal security forces as separate, autonomous, actors vying for power, and the ability to define the good in the Egyptian polity. Instead of thinking about "the state," then, we have a drama that involves three intertwined, but separate, actors. The result is a story that is at once simply gripping, good tale, and a deeply informed one. Really a treat for anyone who wants to understand what is going on in Egypt now (and I think there are a few of us out there).
5.0 out of 5 stars Explains Egypt well. 6 Mar 2014
By Amr Marzouk - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Explains why Egypt is in the mess it is in after being ruled by its incompetent leaders for so long.
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opening book 12 Feb 2014
By Mahmoud Elkotb - Published on
This isn't my first book about Egypt;s political history, but is is certainly one of the best,
The sheer amount of facts gave me the frame of mind to analyse every aspect of Egypt's history.
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent analysis 7 Jan 2014
By Christopher Dickey - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Kandil takes a schematic approach that works, showing that the three key players in Egypt since 1952 have been the army, the security forces, and the political elite. He details the way they competed and cooperated at various times and sets up a picture of the dynamic that allows us to understand much more clearly what happened in January 2011 and, indeed, what is happening now.
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