Egypt has one of the oldest civilizations and proudest national histories in the world, but most military histories treat it as a mere battleground for other great imperial powers such as the Ottoman Empire, the French, and the British. In a lively and stirring narrative, this work tells the untold story of the Egyptian experience. It looks at the lives of Egyptian soldiers fighting at home and abroad, and shows the roles those soldiers and their leaders have played in Middle-Eastern and world history for 500 years--especially in the convulsions that have transformed the Muslim world during the past two centuries.
Beginning with an overview of Egypt's ancient and medieval heritage, the book then explores Ottoman military rule, explaining how a tiny Turkish-speaking minority maintained absolute power by keeping military knowledge out of the grasp of native Egyptians. Readers will see how Napoleon's failed Egyptian campaign of 1798 introduced the nation to Europe but, more important, brought modern Western influences to Egypt. During the 19th century, new arms and tactics and the rising force of nationalism transformed Egypt as the empire of the Ottoman Turks slowly decayed. Independence was thwarted by the British, who took over the country in the 1880s to secure links to India. Yet the British paved the way for independence, retraining and strengthening the Egyptian military to make it the strongest and most nationalist force in the country. Finally, McGregor's closing chapters look at Arab nationalism, and at the Egyptian army in the wars of the late 20th century.
About the Author:
Andrew McGregor is a graduate of the Near Eastern Studies Department of the University of Toronto. He is currently Director of Aberfoyle International Security, a Toronto-based agency specializing in strategic and political issues of the Islamic world. He is the author of A History of Darfur, has published many articles on historical and security issues, and frequently provides commentary for television, radio and print media outlets.