Robert Vitalis's empirically rich study challenges the left-nationalist paradigm through which twentieth-century Egyptian history and politics has generally been interpreted. He argues with those who explain Egyptian economic development primarily in terms of class and of power struggles between British and Egyptian entrepreneurs and politicians.
Vitalis offers a rare, detailed view of the objectives and political strategies of both international firms and Egypt's own big business rivals. He highlights the career of Muhammad Ahmad 'Abbud, modern Egypt's most successful businessman. Vitalis's argument can be effectively applied to many other Third World countries and his book makes a major contribution to ongoing debates regarding class, underdevelopment, and nationalism.