Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Sadat: The Mask and the Truth"

I was late in reading the book by Muhammad `Abdul-Salam Az-Zayyat, "Sadat: the Mask and the Truth" (Arabic).  I found a copy at UCLA library.  It is probably the best analysis of Sadat and his rise to the presidency. Unlike Hakal's account in Autumn of Fury, Az-Zayyat knew Sadat up close and provides an comprehensive analysis of his personality and rule.  I highly recommend the book, and the author has another book about the danger's of Sadat rule, titled "Whither Egypt" (Arabic).  Az-Zayyat was secretary-general of the People's Assembly in Egypt in the 1960s, and then served as minister and deputy prime minister under Sadat, before he broke with him and was persecuted and jailed by him.

PS I knew Az-Zayyat as a boy during our regular visits to Egypt. He was a very close friend of my parents and he would invite us to Egypt almost yearly.  I remember his house and his mother, who lived with him, and his feminist academic sister, Latifah, who also was persecuted by Sadat.