Once Upon a Revolution: An Egyptian Story

Thanassis Cambanis. Simon & Schuster, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4516-5899-6
As the heady days of revolution in Tahrir Square recede further into the past, liberal democracy in Egypt seems increasingly like a pipe dream. Beirut-based journalist Cambanis (A Privilege to Die) follows two leaders of the uprising from the beginnings of their political involvement to the military coup that overthrew Mohamed Morsi. Basem, an unassuming architect, becomes one of the few liberal members of parliament, while Moaz, a Muslim Brother, grows increasingly disenchanted with political Islam. Cambanis eloquently describes post-Mubarak Egypt and the “chaos coursing below the surface, but open conflict still just over the horizon,” as well as the “inability of secular and liberal forces to unify and organize,” which left the political field open to the military apparatus and the secretive Islamists. Crushed by arbitrary military edicts and ascendant puritanism, Egypt’s nascent civil society stalled and sputtered while its freewheeling press degenerated into “a brew of lies, delusion, paranoia, and justification.” The people Cambanis shadows never lose hope, exactly, but he makes clear that they feel as if they are spitting into the wind, struggling to enunciate what the revolution accomplished. Agent: Wendy Strothman, Strothman Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/15/2014
Release date: 01/20/2015
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4516-5901-6
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-4516-5900-9
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