Library Journal Gives THE BURIED: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution by Peter Hessler a Starred Review

After seven years in Beijing as a staff writer for The New Yorker, Hessler (River Town) moved with his wife and twin daughters to Cairo in 2011 just as Egypt’s version of the Arab Spring was unfolding. The protests in Tahrir Square in early 2011 resulted in the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and a period of instability leading to the ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood through parliamentary elections and Mohamed Morsi as president in June 2012. Hessler takes readers on a fascinating journey up and down the Nile to bear witness to the effects of these political upheavals on average Egyptians, including his Arabic tutor, an entrepreneurial garbage collector, a gay interpreter, and local officials. Along the way, he also visits Egyptologists at archaeological sites, particularly Abydos and Amarna, where he gains perspective on current events culminating in the military suppression of the Brotherhood and overthrow of Morsi by General el-Sisi on July 3, 2013, himself elected president on May 29, 2014. Through all of this, little changes for ordinary citizens within the constraints of Egyptian societal traditions. VERDICT This is writing at its best and highly recommended for anyone interested in Egypt, modern or ancient.

The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution by Peter Hessler will be published on May 7th by Penguin Press in North America, Profile Books in the United Kingdom, and Text Publishing in Australia and New Zealand.

Read Peter’s piece “The Refugee and the Thief” in the April 1, 2019 issue of The New Yorker, a story of trust and betrayal.