‘A gripping account. Essential reading to understand the roots of the 2011 Arab Spring and the conflicts that have devastated so much of the region' EUGENE ROGAN, author of The Arabs: A History
President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who ruled Egypt for eighteen years from the coup d'etat of 1952, is best known in the West for wresting the Suez Canal from the British and French empires. He was a larger-than-life figure, loved by his followers for his nationalist ideals and for heralding a period of social change and modernisation. Yet there is a darker side to Nasser’s regime.
We Are Your Soldiers examines Nasser’s influence on the politics of seven countries – Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, and Libya. Rowell argues that Nasser played a crucial role in the formation of authoritarian regimes as varied as Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, Muammar al-Gaddafi’s Libya and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. His encounters with each country were often drenched in blood and destruction, leaving deep scars that endure to the present. Crushing democracy at home while launching wars and slaying opponents abroad, Nasser ushered in the long political winter from which the region is still yet to emerge.
Drawing on extensive interviews and material never before published in English, Alex Rowell presents a thrilling and eye-opening work of history that radically reexamines Middle Eastern politics.
‘In 400 blood-soaked pages,
[Rowell] traces Nasser’s toxic influence from one Arab capital to another, from plots in officers’ club rooms via palace coups and well-equipped torture chambers. Rowell is an eloquent writer, weaving the intrigue into the region’s wider history’ TELEGRAPH‘Sweeping . . . entertaining’ FINANCIAL TIMES‘A rollicking and revelatory tour of today’s Middle East . . . a masterful reassessment of history'
THANASSIS CAMBANIS, author of Once Upon a Revolution: An Egyptian Story