Egypt on the Brink
Tarek Osman focuses on the period from Nasser to the Muslim Brotherhood, but stops in 2013 before the military coup that installed el-Sisi. This book succeeds in telling the story of the Egyptians as a people, and how they and their society have changed.
If you read one book before going to Egypt, read this one by Jack Shenker. A wonderful writer who has immersed himself in Cairo for a decade, his passionate, angry, evocative and multi-layered tale of the city’s inhabitants may encourage you to take a detour from the well-beaten tourist trail.
Into the Hands of the Soldiers
A first-hand account of the lead-up to the revolution and its aftermath by The New York
Times‘ David D Kirkpatrick. It is immediate and disarming in the author’s honesty about the limits of his knowledge and preconceptions he initially held.