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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting account, 31 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Cairo in the War: 1939-45 (Paperback)
It is gratifying that the publishers have at long last decided to reissue this little gem of historical writing.The astute account of the social and political impact of the war years on cosmopolitan Cairo is simply riveting.The wealth of anecdotes and the description of colourful protagonists read like an engrossing novel .While Rommel's Panzers are sweeping all resistance on their way to Alexandria, the life dramas during these critical years involving the fighters as well as the local onlookers are sympathetically recorded by a historian who is not only interested in political and military history but above all in individual destinies engulfed by the overwhelming events of war.With an eye for details she succeeds also in sketching a panoramic view of a colonial society beset by ambivalent feelings towards the fluctuating British fortunes of war.Yet it was sheltered from the horrors of the actual fighting and the material privations endured by the people in Europe.She contrasts the arrogance of imperial might personified by the British Ambassador Sir Miles Lampton high handed dealings with the wily attempts of the Egyptian King and the local political class to accomodate themselves to a situation they could neither control nor ignore.The political humiliations experienced at the time did sow the seeds of a fierce nationalistic reaction which led to the fall of the Monarchy and the Suez crisis.

There is always a tendency in such chronicles to give greater scope to the testimonies of the Diarists and Memoirists at the expense of the voiceless ordinary people.The former by in large tend to be endowed with large egos or great sense of power, though they exercise considerable fascination for the reader and historian alike.Nevertheless her account finds space for the odd ordinary person be it the Barman at the Shepheard hotel , the witty Nubian servant or the stranded German hairdresser.Life in Egypt during the war has inspired some remarkable works of fiction. Beside Durrell's "Alexandria Quartet "and Olivia Manning's "the Levant Trilogy " there are works by Christopher Sykes, Robert Liddell and Leonard Mosley in addition to poems by Keith Douglas and Victor Selwyn.This sparkling historical account stands comparison with the best works of literature mentioned above.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and entertaining, 1 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Cairo in the War: 1939-45 (Paperback)
A brilliant presentation of the personalities in war and the tensions within Egypt, the Command structure and the expectations in London, set in an exotic and dangerous place.
The first part of the book has a superb summation of the precarious position Britain was in, facing actual and near certain military defeats on a number of fronts all along with the need to balance perfidious allies amongst the Egyptians and local enemies determined to see the British presence eliminated. As some of the pressure is relieved after the start of the German assault on the Soviet Union and the Allies move back on the offensive in the Western Desert, Cooper interweaves the rivalries and back-biting disputes within the military and political spheres, mixed with the good times of Cairo, energetically embraced by those whose lives were at risk and those who were having a good war.
The photos are good and just a few more would be even better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What on earth were English doing?, 14 Jun. 2014
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I had borrowed this book from a friend and so was very pleased when I saw that it was being republished by Kindle.
Excellently written, quite shocking about the conduct of individuals and groups. And such incompetence and inefficiency.
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5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding in every respect. A masterpiece which will remain ..., 9 Aug. 2014
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outstanding in every respect. A masterpiece which will remain so for as long as people wish to know more about this period and the personalities.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book, 10 April 2014
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This review is from: Cairo in the War: 1939-45 (Paperback)
This is the book I've been waiting to read. Having heard stories of life in wartime Cairo from my father I found the detail fascinating
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent: very well researched and written. It sheds light on a period of our history little known to most British people. Ho, 25 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Cairo in the War: 1939-45 (Paperback)
Very well researched and written. It sheds light on a period of our history little known to most British people.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars all brilliantly put together by Artemis Cooper, 10 July 2014
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This review is from: Cairo in the War: 1939-45 (Paperback)
Everything you want to know about this subject. The City, the people, the social, the literary, the political, the military; all brilliantly put together by Artemis Cooper. For aficionados of the North African Campaign should be read with with Ollvia Manning's 'The Levant Trilogy' and Alan Moorhead's 'The Desert War'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 April 2015
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This review is from: Cairo in the War: 1939-45 (Paperback)
great book
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Admired by one who was there, then., 12 May 2014
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This review is from: Cairo in the War: 1939-45 (Paperback)
I gave this as a present to someone based in Cairo, as a young women serving in Egypt. She certainly enjoyed the book, what else need I say?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 21 July 2014
This review is from: Cairo in the War: 1939-45 (Paperback)
Excellent that these books are being reprinted.
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Cairo in the War: 1939-45
Cairo in the War: 1939-45 by Artemis Cooper (Paperback - 24 Oct. 2013)
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