Start with The Dawn of Conscience by James Henry Breasted. It’s old, but then what it deals with is even older! It’s a brilliant introduction to ancient Egyptian life and thought – and its continued relevance today. The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (Saqi £14.95) by eminent Lebanese author Amin Maalouf is a great read. Take care though: it’s not the angle that western readers are used to. Everyone should read one Naguib Mahfouz novel. In English, Miramar is the one I’d go for.

Egypt: The Moment of Change (Zed £16.99) edited by Rabab El Mahdi and Philip Marfleet – this provides an excellent background and interpretation of today’s Egyptian revolution. Tweets from Tahrir edited by Alex Nunns and Nadia Idle will take you right up to the present and give you a sense of the Egyptian revolution as it unfolded.

Read the rest in The Guardian

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