Khaled Fahmy offers a new interpretation of modern Egyptian history and the rise of Egyptian nationalism in a theoretically informed study. Basing his work on previously neglected archival material, the author demonstrates how Mehmed Ali built up the Egyptian army to further his own ambitions rather than as a means of gaining Egyptian independence. In this way, the book challenges traditionally held views about early nineteenth-century Egypt and the role of Mehmed Ali as the founder of modern Egypt. The book will be essential reading for students of the Middle East, Ottomanists, military historians and those interested in the construction of the modern nation state.
' ... Khaled Fahmy orients the focus of his research away from Mehmed Ali's character and towards one of his great achievements: the founding of a modern army in Egypt ... The book makes extensive use of the Egyptian national archives and itemizes much detailed information, but the over-riding argument is forthright. Egypt's new army did not give vent to an emergent tide of pent-up nationalism against the Ottomans 'as soldiers far from rushing enthusiastically to join the colors and defend the nation, came to view conscription as a heavy tax exacted by an already oppressive and intolerant regime' ... Fahmy's study makes both interesting and stimulating reading which is certain to provoke much discussion.' The Historical Association