The son of a fighter pilot, raised in an air force barracks, Ahmed Aboul Gheit was privy to the confidential meetings, undisclosed memorandums, and battle secrets of Egyptian diplomacy for many decades. After a stint at military college, he began his career at the Egyptian embassy in Cyprus before later going on to become permanent representative to the United Nations and eventually, Egypt's minister of foreign affairs under Hosni Mubarak. In this fascinating memoir, Aboul Gheit looks back on the October War of 1973 and the diplomatic efforts that followed it, revealing the secrets of his long career for the first time. From Anwar Sadat's impassioned address to his cabinet on the eve of the war to delegations ripping out the walls and wiring at their respective hotels, from Jimmy Carter cycling through the bungalows at Camp David to U.S. State Department miscalculations, Aboul Gheit gives a lively and information-packed account of a turbulent time in Middle Eastern history.
Specialists and armchair historians alike know that Egyptian state documents are never declassified. Virtually all available coverage of the 1967 and 1973 wars and subsequent diplomatic efforts comes from Israeli sources. To get an Arab perspective-from Nasser's military defeat in 1967, through the armed conflict of 1973, to the Oslo Accords and beyond-eyewitness testimony remains key. The recrimination-filled meeting of Arab League leaders in Cairo on the day of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Yitzhak Shamir's blunt admissions to his Arab counterparts in the 1991 Madrid conference, and more, are offered in the first-person perspective of one who has seen it all.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit was born in Cairo in 1942. He began his career at the Egyptian embassy in Cyprus before later going on to become permanent representative to the United Nations (1999-2004) and Egypt's minister of foreign affairs under Hosni Mubarak from 2004 until 2011. He was elected secretary general of the Arab League in 2016.
Sarah Enany, with a PhD in drama, is an assistant professor in the English Department of Cairo University. Her translation credits include the acclaimed Arabic version of Les Miserables and Kamal Ruhayyim's Days in the Diaspora (AUC Press, 2012) and Menorahs and Minarets (AUC Press, 2017).