Before Egypt grabbed international headlines for its democracy demonstrations and the ouster of then president Hosni Mubarak, new books on the history of that nation were probably not in very high demand. What a difference a democratic revolution makes. Today Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson and his latest book on Egyptian history are highly welcome. The Rise And Fall of Ancient Egypt takes a look at the world's first nation state and makes connections between the world of ancient Egyptians and today. For instance, autocratic and oppressive rule have long been a standard in Egypt. Wilkinson illustrates how as early as 2950 BC the idea of opposing the king's regime was considered a direct path to anarchy, much the same way Mubarak's government perpetrated a "father" image for him, one who was to be feared, obeyed and never questioned. Wilkinson also demonstrates how propaganda and repression have always been at the foundation of Egyptian government. What other lessons does history teach us that will help us to understand what is happening in Egypt right now? Have there been previous agitations for democracy? How do current the tensions between Coptic Christians and Muslims mirror ancient rivalries?
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