Before I embarked upon this beautifully presented book (- what a sumptuous cover!) what I knew about King Farouk might quite easily have been accommodated on the back of a stamp. Now I know far more, owing to Mr Stadiem's deeply researched yet never overpowering biography of Egypt's last monarch. Never quite aspiring to pharaonic status Farouk did succeed intreading a wary path between the demands of the Western Powers and the forces of republicanism constantly fomenting near the surface of Cairo life. Indeed, perhaps the biggest surprise is that he lasted for as long as he did. Almost like Michael Jackson he passed from svelte, charming fairy-tale good looks in to something more akin to self parody yet, unlike Jackson, he never wholly relinquished his dignity.
Stadiem's book seems to capture the multi-faceted nature of this enigmatic man as he struggled to retain his enigmatic position.
I just wish that there were more biographies of this sort, and i take my hat off to Parkway Publishing for their inspired decision to reissue this book.