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Whatever Happened to the Egyptians?: Changes in Egyptian Society from 1950 to the Present [Paperback]

Galal A. Amin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 14.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Mar 2001
Based on academic research and the author's own personal experiences and impressions, this study examines the underlying causes of some of the more disturbing social, political, economic, and cultural phemonena that characterize Egyptian society today. Through an examination of issues ranging from the middle class, religious fanaticism, and attitudes to the West and western culture, to the Egyptian institution of the summer holiday by the sea, the author posits that social mobility has changed the customs and habits, moral and material values and patterns of consumption and investment of Egypt's aspiring classes, and has furthermore, induced the Egyptian people to ignore national and ideological issues of grave importance.

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Whatever Happened to the Egyptians?: Changes in Egyptian Society from 1950 to the Present + Whatever Else Happened to the Egyptians?: From the Revolution to the Age of Globalization
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press; Ill edition (1 Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9774245598
  • ISBN-13: 978-9774245596
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 12.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 946,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A rare example of combining social theory with concrete observation and intimate personal experience.... A very perceptive account of Egyptian social development with almost the impact of a dramatic creation." Abd al-Qader al-Qutt, al-Ahram, 2000.

About the Author

Galal Amin is professor of economics at the American University in Cairo.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent 1 July 2011
I really enjoyed reading this book as it provides an excellent insight into the current state of Egypt. Even after the revolution, it still makes sense as you have all the background information about the country and the changes that took place there over the last few decades. A must read if you are interested in modern day Egypt.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Helpful Introduction to Modern Egypt 27 Nov 2002
By Diego Banducci - Published on Amazon.com
This unbiased work provides a good overview of the societal changes that have occurred in Egypt during the last 50 years and the challenges that remain. It will prove particularly helpful for people who are planning to go to Egypt and/or deal with Egyptians on more than a superficial level, as well as for those who want to add some depth to their understanding of the Middle East generally. A good overview of a fascinating country.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite modern day Maqrizi but nice effort 11 Oct 2006
By AA - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The social history of Egypt in the Middle Ages was well documented by the legendary historian Al Maqrizi who wrote volumes of fascinating history of Egyptians, their rulers, classes and habits. In the last few hundred years starting with Edward Lane writing the social history of Egypt became dominated by the Orientalists who brought their own baggage and prejudices and often supremacist attitudes to the task. Few rare exceptions such as Cairo City Victorious defy the traditional orientalist narratives. (This can be observed from the review of the former colleague of Amin who essentially says this is just good enough for the natives if not in so many words.)

Galal Amin wrote a light hearted, mostly easy to read book about the massive changes that occurred in the Egyptian society since the 1952 military coup aka The Revolution. Amin attributes much of the change in Egypt's society to a massive expansion of the middle class started under Nasser but accelerated under Sadat with the Open Door policy and the massive demand for Egyptian workers (including unskilled and semiskilled) in the oil rich Arab countries.

Amin used a number of personal but very interesting yard sticks to track the changes in the society. He contrasted his university professor salary with that of the house servant. The gap narrowed significantly after 1952 and much more so after 1972 and started to widen again in recent years. Amin also addressed the role of women in the society and contrasted the changes from his mothers, to his sisters to his daughter. Remarkable change has occurred and Amin's admittedly non scientific findings correlate closely with those of Leila Ahmed (Women & Gender in Islam). For many women in Egypt the headscarf serves a tool of liberation not oppression, a point almost always lost on many. Also interesting is Amin's demonstration of the reduced dependence on the state comparing the days of his father (the famous Egyptian Writer & Professor Ahmad Amin) to the generations of his kids and nephews and nieces.

Overall it is a really nice easy to read book, it is a compilation of different articles and research papers that mostly mesh in nicely to form a reasonably coherent whole
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and inspiring look at what happened in Egypt post the 1952 revolution 4 Aug 2008
By Khaled S. Aggag - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you want to know how egypt changed socially and economically in the last 50 years this is the book to start from. It offers an entertaining as well as deep, board look and what happened to Egypt and how it slowly transformed to what it became now. One of the great features of Galal Amin in this book is that he maintains strict neutrality, neither supporting and attacking a certain side or group, he simply tries to relay to the reader what happened giving the reader a chance to decide for himself whether what happened was bad or good. For us young Egyptians who want to understand what the older folks are talking about when they ramble about the good old days, this is a must read. Truely entertaining.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyful to read for Amin 23 Jan 2007
By Reham Shehata - Published on Amazon.com
This book, as well as "Whatever Else Happened to the Egyptians" inform, very entertainingly, about the dramatic Social and Economical changes that has taken place in Egypt since Nasser's era. They also show how in some situations the Egyptian society has been blindly moving in the direction of westernization. The book is divided into different articles, addressing different aspects of the society, eg. income, marriage, etc..., which makes it very easy and more interesting to read.
I was one of Galal Amin's students in the American University in Cairo, and his very charming personality that always made his classes a joy to learn, vividly appears in his writings.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbiased no, entertaining and insighful yes. 29 Jun 2004
By Andrew M. Melnyk - Published on Amazon.com
I personally and professionally know Galal Amin. I was his colleague at the American University in Cairo for several years and have had the pleasure of socializing with him on many occasions. Though I disagree with him about 99 percent of the time, especially on his views of the West and of the economics profession (he seems to have contempt for both), I find him to be one of the most entertaining, charming, and articulate individuals I have ever met. This comes across very clearly in his work. His book is very readable and does indeed offer insights into Egyptian society, much the way Andy Rooney does of American society, and the rapid changes it has gone through. In a way this book, and the man himself, epitomize Egypt. To the Westerner, Egypt is a charming place full of contradictions which both seduces and exhausts the outsider. If one takes it too much to heart, the same can be said of Amin's work. It is best to keep in mind that this book is based on a series of articles that were written for an Egyptian audience. With that in mind, I highly recommend it.
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