Book Title: Vintage Egypt : Cruising the Nile in the Golden Age of Travel
Author: Andrew Humphreys
Format: Paperback | 216 pages
Publication Date: 01 Sep 2009
New paperback edition of this fascinating look at cosmopolitan Egypt in the "golden years" of travel under the last kings. A tourist perched on a camel, a Bugatti at the foot of the pyramids, high tea served in jasminedraped gardens ... these are the images of Egypt under the last kings, Fuad and Farouk, in the first half of the twentieth century. The era saw the birth of organized tourism on a grand scale, under the guiding genius of Thomas Cook, with fifty thousand wealthy adventurers boarding boats each year for the Nile. Among this throng, however, were those not content to be simply photographed in front of the ruins and then return home. In a country looking toward Europe and "protected" by the British army, a very particular social set formed in Cairo and Alexandria. Within this cosmopolitan, ephemeral world, cinema and avant-garde theater flourished, featuring such stars as dancer Samia Gamal, director Youssef Chahine, and actor Omar Sharif. Fascinating accounts of this universe have been left by Egyptian writers or travelers to the country, including Rudyard Kipling, Jean Cocteau, and Andre Gide. They offer us a rare glimpse of Egypt before the era of mass tourism. Extraordinary period photographs also survive; unearthed in Cairo or Beirut, in museums or private homes-they bring alive once again the fragile yet effervescent glamour of Egypt under the last kings.