I am an Egyptian who has immigrated to America after the 1967 Six-Day War. I have had a successful career as an engineer and manager in the telecommunications industry in the USA working for GTE, Sprint and WorldCom which ended after a three year assignment for WorldCom in Brussels. In January 2003 I retired and moved to a small village in the Southwest of France where I started writing the novel “FROM FEAST TO FAMINE” which is based on my family in Egypt and nine short stories that are based on my career in the US, Brussels. and Santiago, Chile. I also live in Naples, FL.
FROM FEAST TO FAMINE a novel
FROM FEAST to FAMINE is the saga of a wealthy landowning family that spans the period from the end of the First World War through the 1952 Revolution (an era of great plenty and opulence in Egypt) to the fifties and sixties ending with the death of Nasser in 1970 (a period of military dictatorship, socialism and deprivation).
This novel will find resonance with readers who will be interested to understand how Egypt was transformed from a cosmopolitan country (where Greeks, Italians, Armenians, English, French, Muslims, Jews and Christians all lived together in harmony), a country with a vibrant economy and a democracy (a Parliament, opposition parties and governments with limited tenures) to sixty years of military dictatorship and then, finally, to the chaos the country is going through today.
29. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout the land of Egypt
30. And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and its famine shall consume the land.
1. 4.0 out of 5 stars Where Is Egypt Going?, February 24, 2011
By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers (RAWSISTAZ.com and BlackBookReviews.net) - See all my reviews
This review is from: From Feast to Famine (Kindle Edition)
FROM FEAST TO FAMINE by Butros Hanna tells the story of Egypt and how it went from being a prosperous country or its citizens, to being a country where there was considerable poverty. It tells the story of Amin Wahba Pasha and his children and how they survived the changes in the regime. Amin Wahba Pasha had one son, Farid, who married Jeanette, a wealthy woman. He had always been interested in politics and became a senator, but the revolution of 1952 changed everything. Nasser came to power and socialism began to take over the country. People who had good paying jobs previously, were overtaken by the government and their pay was reduced considerably. They also had to give up the land they owned and sometimes, even their houses.
Nasser wanted to get rid of the British rule and he did. Then the Six Days War led by the Israelis and the Egyptian Air Force was decimated but Nasser held on anyway. The people became poorer and the tourists no longer came to the country. Also, the foreigners who had been living there began to leave the country. Will Egypt ever get back to where it was?
There are several romances in the book and the story about the Wahba family was well developed and so it was easy to see why they did the things they did. The story was fascinating from the beginning to the end. Those pages just kept turning as I held my breath, waiting to see what could happen next. It was truly a fascinating story that just wouldn't let me put it down.
Reviewed by Alice Holman
of The RAWSISTAZ(tm) Reviewers
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2. 5.0 out of 5 stars From Feast to Famine, August 27, 2010
By gauloise123 "chriseeckhout" - See all my reviews
This review is from: From Feast to Famine (Kindle Edition)
This is a fantastic book, difficult to put down... The saga of a wealthy landowning family that spans the period from the end of the First World War through the 1952 Revolution (an era of great opulence in Egypt) to the fifties and sixties ending with the death of Nasser in 1970 (a period of military dictatorship, socialism and deprivation).
The characters come alive in this novel,they draw the reader into the story. The author obviously has an intimate knowledge of the history of the period and of the ins an outs in such families.
Many readers who have recently lived through a similar painful transition from Feast to Famine will identify with the story of the Wahba family. The story will also find resonance with readers who are interested in the events that have shaped the Middle East of today. There are few other books that analyze the social as well as the political impact of the Nasser years on Egypt and way his legacy has transformed the whole region into an area of global conflicts and turmoil.
3. Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna
Post Number:#1 by capucine » 07 Feb 2013, 23:02
[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "FROM FEAST TO FAMINE" by Butros HANNA.]
From Feast to Famine is a family saga written by Butros Hanna.
It is a well-written work which encapsulates the lives of upper-class Egyptians from the early 1920's through the military coup in the early 1950’s which saw Nasser’s installation as dictator, and beyond. It traces the tumultous political history of Egypt through revolution, land reform and war. From Feast to Famine is an account of Egyptian history told through the saga of the Wahba family, as the ever-changing politics of Egypt throughout the 20th century test the family's perseverance as their fortunes, materially and otherwise, dwindle. The narrative centers around the life of the Wahba family patriarch, Farid, from his marriage to Jeannette, and through the lives of his children, with special emphasis placed on Yousef (otherwise known as Joseph), who is the protagonist of the second half of the book.
Besides the immensely interesting history, Hanna provides cultural insight as well, detailing Coptic as well as Muslim traditions. For those interested in history and exploring foreign cultures from a personal perspective, From Feast to Famine is a good fit. Each chapter explores different members of the Wahba family, using anecdotes or vignettes to document the lives of the Wahba family, rather than strictly obeying chronological order. While this makes the story a bit more complicated to follow, as the chapters tend to overlap each other with respect to chronology, I don't see how the book could have been written any other way. The shorter vignettes also make the book a very enjoyable read, far preferable and far more insightful than reading a dry, impersonal history of 20th century Egypt.
It was clear that the narrator had mixed emotions regarding the Europeanizaton of Egypt. Rather than regarding Europeanized Egyptians with disdain, the narrator employed gentle mockery over sententious reproach. "He was an Old Victorian, as those who had been to Victoria College liked to call themselves in their relentless effort to imitate British customs."
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