Articles, essays, reviews…

‘The Overwhelmed’ a TLS review of Barbara Kreiger’s book about the Dead Sea’s strange history and current plight  is  only available to subscribers but you can read a doc version here.

Another recent TLS review, of Rachel Aspden’s Generation Revolution.

The Times Literary Supplement recently (Feb.11, 2016) published my review of Jack Shenker’s Egypt: A Radical Story and Samuli Schielke’s  Egypt in the Future Tense, but if you’re not a subscriber, you can’t access it. So here it is, unabridged, with my argument as to why real societal change has proved so elusive, here and elsewhere.

The Middle East Institute (Washington, DC)  and Daily Star Lebanon author’s pages

July 13, 2014: A small tribute to a great friend, George Scanlon (1925-2014) from The Arabist:

Egypt’s Hepatitis C epidemic could be stopped in its tracks. All it would take is political will …(is that all?)

Egypt’s decision to import coal to fuel the cement industry is just another symptom of an energy crisis on its way to becoming a politial conflagration:

The media cries ‘civil war’ in Egypt – alarmist headlines that cast a dark spell on perceptions. Their Egypt is not the one where I live:

Those concerned about Egypt abandoning the ballot box should recall the deeply flawed elections that brought the Brotherhood to power:

July 3, 2013 Epic celebration in Egypt and despite the thorniness of the situation a wonderful sense of release/relief.

Latest New Internationalist essay …

Times Literary Supplement review of six books about the ‘Arab Spring’…

Taking in the Arab Spring

(scroll down for more links)

on Cairo’s slums, chaos and order, or the illusion thereof…

This appeared in the March 2112 issue of World Literature Today, a lit mag published by the University of Oklahoma. It’s illustrated so takes a while to upload. Text only version here:

of laughter and forgetting…

It’s been pretty gloomy around here, but a more light-hearted approach is called for:

Post-Mubarak Egypt

A link to my ‘author’s page’ on Masry al-Youm’s English-language website:

symbolic patricide and its discontents…

This one on the deeper issues, a year since Mubarak was ousted…I grew up in an Italian/Polish-American Catholic family subject to many of the same restrictions suffered by young people in Egypt today. When I get down on religion or the paternalism that drives it-  I speak from experience.

on belonging to (read: being owned by) the system…

This one – straight-ahead, all-purpose allegory –  applies not just to Egypt, but our whole conflicted world:

Egypt: In the world of ideas…

This piece was commissioned by Almut Sh. Bruckstein, initiator and director of ha’atelier (platform for philosophy and art ) curator of the landmark exhibition‚Taswir’ that showed at Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin in 2009-2010.  It comments on a piece by Egyptian artist Sherif Elazma (a ‚maquette’ of downtown Cairo and a video entitled ‚Out of Perspective’) and was written shortly after the uprising of January-February 2011.  It contains some of my pet theories about Egyptian history, tradition,  order, chaos, paternalism. For all that, it’s short and, I’ve been told, quite readable… 

Letters from Cairo, 2008-2o11

These short (750 word) first-person narratives appeared monthly in the New Internationalist, a socialist cooperative magazine out of Oxford for which I was very pleased to write.

Recipe for an Uprising

Here’s an older ‘author’s page’ on the Beirut Daily Star site.  A series of editorials about life in Egypt and the rising tide of discontent preceding the events of January 25-February 11, 2011.

Whistle while you….

This a paper entitled ‘The City at Work’ commissioned by Princeton’s Shelby Collum Davis Center for Historical Studies in 2005.

It’s my take on the concept and practice of work in Cairo, with lots of reference material for anyone interested.

Book Reviews

I reviewed a number of  Middle East/Islam- related books for the TLS but none so infuriating as Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Caged Virgin.  Here ‘s that review:

The Illusion of Harmony is another interesting example of a book  in the (typically condescending) genre  of ‘decoding Muslims for western readers’.  It’s about Islam’s historic rapport with science and scientific achivement, that is, from the author’s (Taner Edis) point of view…

Here’s one more review about a fascinating series of essays on Islam’s take on ecology -quite (theoretically) enlightened – versus the reality of environmental devastation we see all around us:


2 Responses to Nonfiction

  1. John Mynott says:

    I enjoyed your final “Letter from Cairo”. Wish you well in future writings.
    I will book mark your site and try to check back from time to time.
    John Mynott
    Chelsea, Canada

  2. CarolynBrown says:

    I found you in the recent edition of Aramco World and your article was about what I love of Egypt, photography. I lived in Egypt 1968-1971, studied at AUC and took up my profession, photography while living there. During the next thirty years I traveled and photographed throughout the Middle East. Your writings bring it all back. Thank you. Carolyn Brown

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