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Home » Books » History » Middle East » Egypt

Lifting the Veil

By Anthony Sattin

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Format: Paperback / softback, 320 pages
Other Information: 3x8pp bw plates
Published In: UK, 30 April 2011
The Scottish traveller James Bruce, who reached Cairo in 1768, explained that he was on his way up the Nile merely to see what was there. In his footsteps there followed a multi-national crowd of traders and tourists, soldiers and fortune-seekers, scholars and empire-builders, lured by Egypt's rich and ancient history, her compelling landscapes, the elusive ruins of once-magnificent civilisations or her increasingly strategic importance in world politics. Spanning two centuries of Western fascination - from Bruce's intrepid journey up the Nile to the departure of the last British troops from Suez - "Lifting the Veil" portrays the shifting interests, dreams and failures, passions and intrigues of an extraordinary cast of characters. From Napoleon Bonaparte with his schemes to control the overland route to India, to tomb-raiders such as Giovanni Belzoni; from scholars like hieroglyph-decoder Champollion to Thomas Cook and his wide-eyed tourists and Cromer and his bureaucrats, this fast-paced and richly-described narrative illuminates a bygone world and charts the end of imperialism and the advent of Egyptian Independence.

'Lifting the Veil is just the book to take along with your Agatha Christies and Olivia Mannings (and the Alexandria Quartet for good measure) as you board that Luxor-bound steamer at Cairo.' - Charles Allen, Sunday Times; 'Lifting the Veil is a fascinating story... Mr. Sattin ends his account in 1956 when the last British soldier left Egypt, on a day whose anniversary is marked by a public holiday. But now the country's economy is dependent on the tourist trade. Invading Britons are still there. Along with their histories of the pharaohs, they should pack this excellent book.' - Jessica Mann, Weekend Telegraph; 'Sattin has undoubted literary verve, which he uses in telling the stories of famous characters like General Gordon, Lucie Duff Gordon, the archetypal Victorian lady (even while she was dying of consumption on the banks of the Nile), and the tomb-hunting Lord Carnarvon.' - David Pryce-Jones, Financial Times; 'Lifting the Veil is based on the agreeable idea of travelling the tourist routes in Egypt and buttressing impressions with those of previous visitors, from James Bruce, the Nile explorer of the late 1760s and early 1770s, through to Noel Coward; and Mr. Sattin has drawn on members of the British community and the historians. The result is a book that conveys a great deal of the expatriate's experience... The steamers that make Nile cruises today usually have a library to entertain and instruct the passengers. Lifting the Veil will do just that and no doubt will eventually be found in every one of them.' - P.H. Newby, TLS; 'A new and lively portrait of an ancient, dormant land, catapulted into a hasty modernisation drive - full of interesting snippets and brimming with a genuine fondness for the country and its people, Lifting the Veil has become my favourite reference.' - Fayza Hassan, Al Ahram Weekly

About the Author

Anthony Sattin is a writer of history and travel, a specialist on the Mid-dle East and North Africa. The author of several highly-acclaimed books, including 'The Pharaoh's Shadow', 'The Gates of Africa' and 'A Winter on the Nile', he is also a regular contributor to the Sunday Times and Conde Nast Traveller and has been widely published in the UK and around the world. His broadcast work includes sev-eral high profi le radio documentaries on the Arab world. He sits on the editorial advisory board of Geographical Magazine and has contributed to several guidebook series, including the Lonely Planet volumes on Egypt and Algeria.

Reviews

'Lifting the Veil is just the book to take along with your Agatha Christies and Olivia Mannings (and the Alexandria Quartet for good measure) as you board that Luxor-bound steamer at Cairo.' - Charles Allen, Sunday Times; 'Lifting the Veil is a fascinating story... Mr. Sattin ends his account in 1956 when the last British soldier left Egypt, on a day whose anniversary is marked by a public holiday. But now the country's economy is dependent on the tourist trade. Invading Britons are still there. Along with their histories of the pharaohs, they should pack this excellent book.' - Jessica Mann, Weekend Telegraph; 'Sattin has undoubted literary verve, which he uses in telling the stories of famous characters like General Gordon, Lucie Duff Gordon, the archetypal Victorian lady (even while she was dying of consumption on the banks of the Nile), and the tomb-hunting Lord Carnarvon.' - David Pryce-Jones, Financial Times; 'Lifting the Veil is based on the agreeable idea of travelling the tourist routes in Egypt and buttressing impressions with those of previous visitors, from James Bruce, the Nile explorer of the late 1760s and early 1770s, through to Noel Coward; and Mr. Sattin has drawn on members of the British community and the historians. The result is a book that conveys a great deal of the expatriate's experience... The steamers that make Nile cruises today usually have a library to entertain and instruct the passengers. Lifting the Veil will do just that and no doubt will eventually be found in every one of them.' - P.H. Newby, TLS; 'A new and lively portrait of an ancient, dormant land, catapulted into a hasty modernisation drive - full of interesting snippets and brimming with a genuine fondness for the country and its people, Lifting the Veil has become my favourite reference.' - Fayza Hassan, Al Ahram Weekly

EAN: 9781848857698
ISBN: 1848857691
Publisher: Tauris Parke Paperbacks
Dimensions: 19.56 x 12.95 x 2.79 centimetres (0.34 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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