Amid the turbulence of the 2011 Arab uprisings, the revolutionary uprising that played out in Cairo's Tahrir Square created high expectations before dashing the hopes of its participants. The upheaval led to a sequence of events in Egypt that scarcely anyone could have predicted, and precious few have understood: five years on, the status of Egypt's unfinished revolution remains shrouded in confusion. Power shifted hands rapidly, first from protesters to the army leadership, then to the politicians of the Muslim Brotherhood, and then back to the army. The politics of the street has given way to the politics of Islamist-military detentes and the undoing of the democratic experiment. Meanwhile, a burgeoning Islamist insurgency occupies the army in Sinai and compounds the nation's sense of uncertainty. A Revolution Undone blends analysis and narrative, charting Egypt's journey from Tahrir to Sisi from the perspective of an author and analyst who lived it all. H.A. Hellyer brings his first-hand experience to bear in his assessment of Egypt's experiment with protest and democracy.And by scrutinising Egyptian society and public opinion, Islamism and Islam, the military and government, as well as the West's reaction to events, Hellyer provides a much-needed appraisal of Egypt's future prospects.
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H. A. Hellyer is a senior non-resident Fellow at the Rafik Hariri Centre for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council, and Associate Fellow in International Security Studies at RUSI, London. He has published widely on Arab affairs in the international press and appears regularly on broadcasters including the BBC, CNN and Al-Jazeera.
Hellyer meticulously unpicks the struggle for power that began after Mubarak stepped down, going beyond simplistic depiction of Egypt's post-revolutionary politics as a battle between a (secular) military and so-called deep state against an Islamist or religious opposition.
'A Revolution Undone: Egypt's Road Beyond Revolt ... is informative, concise and interwoven with personal anecdotes and stories by the author, making the read all the more enjoyable ... [T]he thoroughness and richness of the book constitutes not only one of the first comprehensive attempts at a history of post-2011 Egypt, but also provides ample empirical material for a deeper reflection on structure, agency and contingency, thereby making the read worthwhile.'
LSE, Middle East Centre blog
'H.A. Hellyer has written an inimitable book. Specialists and general readers alike will benefit hugely from the accounts exquisitely related by an insider and a fair observer in one. Hellyer's organic link to Egypt and consciously impartial perspective produce a unique combination that we should appreciate, as many of the books published on the subject tend to lean towards one view or one side. His writings have long made clear his consistent and balanced insight -- and in this book, Hellyer lets no one off the hook, calling all to account.'
Hassan Hassan, Associate Fellow of Chatham House; author of the New York Times bestseller ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror
'H.A. Hellyer is eminently qualified to inform, and interpret these punishing years since 2011 which have polarised Egypt and left many searching for certainties. There's an academic's rigour, a pollster's precision, and a journalist's compelling anecdotes in his chronicle of Egypt's 'unfinished revolution.' Committed to the principles of that peaceful protest, he doesn't shirk from holding everyone to account: from the revolutionaries who failed to follow through;
the Muslim Brotherhood which fell from grace and power;
and a military which played a pivotal role throughout. Egypt's story is still being written. But five years on, this book puts down an important marker.'
Lyse Doucet, Chief International Correspondent, BBC
'Attempting to follow the extraordinary tumult in Egypt has often felt like wading through a dense fog. It takes an assured and skilful navigator to plot a constructive path through the gloom and shine a light where it is needed most. Hellyer is just such a navigator: thoughtful, perceptive and above all committed to the promise of revolution, even as he spells out with intellectual honesty and historical nuance where those fighting for a more democratic Egypt have gone wrong. His analysis is an antidote to lazy stereotypes and reductive binaries, and today it is more important than ever.'
Jack Shenker, former Egypt correspondent for The Guardian; author of The Egyptians: A Radical Story
'A Revolution Undone represents the most authoritative, thoughtful, and nuanced account to date of Egypt's 2011 revolution and its aftermath. The book is replete with the kind of unique insight that emerges only from direct proximity to the events it describes. Hellyer's is a voice of studious integrity, allowing the book to achieve the near impossible when it comes to analysing Egyptian politics today: balance and perspective. A bold, defining, and -- ultimately -- hopeful statement on the Arab Spring that should be read by anyone interested in the future of the Middle East.'
Peter Mandaville, Professor of International Affairs at George Mason University; author of Islam and Politics
'Throughout the tumultuous events of 2011-2015, H.A. Hellyer has been a lucid but hardly dispassionate analyst. Now he has written a book presenting that period that draws on the same assets as his contemporaneous analyses: he writes from the heart but without losing a touch of his clear-headed thinking. Those who remember only a confused tumble of events will find a sure guide, but even those who recall these events well will learn from his book.'
Nathan J Brown, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University
'H.A. Hellyer has written a deeply knowledgeable and personal set of reflections on the Egyptian revolution and its grim aftermath. It is impossible to read this book and not come away with a sense of the spirit that drove the young people of Tahrir Square in the early days of 2011, and which drives many Egyptians still. Many books have been written with the words 'Egypt' and 'Revolution' in their titles, but this is the only one worth reading.'
Tarek Masoud, Sultan of Oman Associate Professor of International Relations at Harvard University; author of Counting Islam: Religion, Class and Elections in Egypt
Egypt - History - Protests, 2011-|Egypt - Politics and government - 1981-
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