For those who want to read up on the roots of the turmoil, The Economist Cairo bureau chief, Max Rodenbeck, recommends several clearly written accounts. The first is “Egypt on the Brink: From Nasser to Mubarak” by Tarek Osman, a Western-educated Egyptian banker and occasional newspaper columnist. The second is a series of books by Galal Amin, starting with “Egypt in the Era of Hosni Mubarak: 1981-2010”, which builds on his earlier works, “Whatever Happened to the Egyptians?” , “Whatever Else Happened to the Egyptians?” and “The Illusion of Progress in the Arab World“. “The Yacoubian Building” by Alaa al Aswani is a marvellous comic novel of life in Cairo.
Two pieces of thoughtful journalism that bear re-reading are The Economist's 14-page special report on Egypt, written by Mr Rodenbeck and published over the summer, and our earlier special report on the Arab world, by Peter David (July 2009). And do revisit Adam Shatz's insightful reportage, “Mubarak's Last Breath“, published in the London Review of Books in May 2010.