x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The Road to Tahrir Square: drawing a line from the past to the present

Lloyd C Gardner teases out the nuances of Egypt's relationship with the US since the Nasser era.

The Road to Tahrir Square by Lloyd C Gardner, Saqi, Dh85
The Road to Tahrir Square by Lloyd C Gardner, Saqi, Dh85

Rutgers University professor of history Lloyd C Gardner seeks to shed light on the complex and often tentative relationship established between Egypt and the United States since the Nasser era, from 1952 to 1970.

To contextualise it in modern times, the introduction recollects Hillary Clinton's visit to Tahrir Square - the site of another, more celebrated, uprising early last year.

The book attempts to pin down certain parallels between past and present, "to walk back to 1952 in order to get to Tahrir Square in 2011".

More specifically, these parallels relate to American foreign policy, though the apparent connection they share is rather loose at best.

At worst, Gardner's observations leave one groping for clues to the concepts he broadly hints at.

Further, judging by the 16 pages of footnotes included, these are often little more than reworded discussions based on previously published records of the events in question. The Road to Tahrir Square is a slim volume in every sense of the word, with the path to a definite conclusion fraught with pot-holes.