The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution

The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution Review

From the acclaimed author of River Town and Oracle Bones, an intimate excavation of life in one of the world's oldest civilizations at a time of convulsive change

Drawn by a fascination with Egypt's rich history and culture, Peter Hessler moved with his wife and twin daughters to Cairo in 2011. He wanted to learn Arabic, explore Cairo's neighborhoods, and visit the legendary archaeological digs of Upper Egypt. After his years of covering China for The New Yorker, friends warned him Egypt would be a much quieter place. But not long before he arrived, the Egyptian Arab Spring had begun, and now the country was in chaos.

In the midst of the revolution, Hessler often traveled to digs at Amarna and Abydos, where locals live beside the tombs of kings and courtiers, a landscape that they call simply al-Madfuna "the Buried." He and his wife set out to master Arabic, striking up a friendship with their instructor, a cynical political sophisticate. They also befriended Peter's translator, a gay man struggling to find happiness in Egypt's homophobic culture. A different kind of friendship was formed with the neighborhood garbage collector, an illiterate but highly perceptive man named Sayyid, whose access to the trash of Cairo would be its own kind of archaeological excavation. Hessler also met a family of Chinese small-business owners in the lingerie trade; their view of the country proved a bracing counterpoint to the West's conventional wisdom.

Through the lives of these and other ordinary people in a time of tragedy and heartache, and through connections between contemporary Egypt and its ancient past, Hessler creates an astonishing portrait of a country and its people. What emerges is a book of uncompromising intelligence and humanity--the story of a land in which a weak state has collapsed but its underlying society remains in many ways painfully the same. A worthy successor to works like Rebecca West's Black Lamb and Grey Falcon and Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines, The Buried bids fair to be recognized as one of the great books of our time.

Title:The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution
Edition Language:English

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    The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution Reviews

  • Book of the Month

    Why I love itby Siobhan JonesOne dusty afternoon in Austin, Texas, in the back of a friend’s car, I had one of those reading experiences that was so vivid, I’ll remember it forever. In some tatter...

  • Sue

    Peter Hessler is a marvelous story teller. The Buried is about Egyptian revolution, archeology, and politics, but it is even more about people and their stories.All of Hessler’s previous books had b...

  • Lorna

    The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution by foreign correspondent Peter Hessler was a well-researched and interesting account of not only the Arab Spring in Egypt, but an extensive and fa...

  • Joel

    My thanks to Penguin Press for an advance copy of this book.Hessler made his mark with several books about China, where he lived in the late 90s as an English teacher, and then from 2000-2007 as a cor...

  • Text Publishing

    ‘Adroitly combining the color and pacing of travel writing and investigative journalism with the tools and insight of anthropological fieldwork and political theory, this stakes a strong claim to be...

  • Ying Ying

    After sampling a few pages, I was more enticed by this BOTM choice than the other four available options. Peter writes in a way that is easy to read, the text flows smoothly through the pages, always ...

  • Anna Baillie-Karas

    A great book that taught me much about modern Egypt through Hessler’s engaging mix of reporting & personal stories. Sayyid the garbage collector a favourite (the friendship, & the intricacies of his...

  • Hayley Stenger

    This felt like a 3 for 1 deal and I mean that as a compliment. The book was a fascinating look into the history of Egypt, going between Ancient Egypt, the Arab Spring, and the personal lives of citize...

  • JamalT

    This is one of the most brilliant books I've ever read. It's so rich, it's difficult to fully explain the scope and ambition on display. Peter Hessler's account combines ancient Egypt, the history of ...

  • David Quinn

    I loved "River Town" and "Oracle Bones" and I occasionally loved this book too. But I also liked it and found it tedious at other times. Much like the books about China, "The Buried" is a mix of ancie...