Century Reads

Once Upon a Revolution
$26.00
288 Pages
ISBN: 9781451658996
 
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Foreign Policy, Responding to Upheaval in the Arab World

Once Upon a Revolution: An Egyptian Story

By Thanassis Cambanis

In Once Upon a Revolution, TCF fellow and award-winning journalist Thanassis Cambanis tells the inside story of the 2011 Egyptian revolution by following two courageous and pivotal leaders—and their imperfect decisions that changed the world.

In January 2011, in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, a group of strangers sparked a revolution. Basem, an apolitical middle-class architect, jeopardized the lives of his family when he seized the chance to improve his country. Moaz, a contrarian Muslim Brother, defied his own organization to join the opposition.

These revolutionaries had little more than their idealism with which to battle the secret police, the old oligarchs, and a power-hungry military determined to keep control. Basem was determined to change the system from within and became one of the only revolutionaries to win a seat in parliament. Moaz took a different course, convinced that only street pressure from youth movements could dismantle the old order.

Cambanis tells the story of the noble dreamers who brought Egypt to the brink of freedom, and the dark powerful forces that—for the time being—stopped them short. But he also tells a universal story of inspirational people willing to transform themselves in order to transform their society, and the world.

Book Reviews

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. . . . 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
Publishers Weekly

A clear exposition and analysis of complex, swiftly changing events. The book gives readers cause to understand why we might support regime change in the Middle East, even if it brings instability and incoherence.
Kirkus

The characters Cambanis renders in Once Upon A Revolution are irresistible; you will cheer for them, cry with them, and feel the weight of their task as they bring down a dictator only to face the harder challenge of re-inventing Egypt. Cambanis tells no fairy tales, but grim reality is tempered by the compassion, humor, and hope of the young people in the square.
David Aquila ("Quil") Lawrence, NPR News

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