The Suez Files

One reads this book almost with nostalgia. The 1950's, and the dramatic events that occurred during that decade in the Middle East, are the subject of these historically important recollections by Mohamed Heikal, confidant of Gamal Abdel Nasser and distinguished editor of the Cairo newspaper Akhbar el-Yom. Heikal reminds us that during the 1950's relations between the Arab world and the West differed markedly from today, and that Nasser and other leaders eschewed the gnostic redemptionism that now so disfigures Arab, Israeli, and Islamic politics.

In this his sixth book, Heikal completes the story begun in his articles entitled "Political Inquiry," published in the Egyptian press in 1958 and 1967 and continued in his 1973 book. The Cairo Documents: Nasser's International Relations. Cutting the Lion's Tail is the English adaptation of Milafatt es-Suways ("The Suez Files") published in Cairo in 1986. The book is based on Heikal's notes of his almost daily conversations with Nasser, as well as on a rich lode of Egyptian archival material. It constitutes the authoritative Egyptian version of the nationalization of the Suez Canal in 1956, and the subsequent invasion of Egypt by England, France, and Israel.

Heikal also discusses many of the other principal international issues of the time: the Baghdad Pact, Egyptian-Israeli relations, and financing of...

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