If you want a sense of pre-Nasser's Egypt, and why Nasser happened--or, if you're just a romantic who loves to read--you MUST read "The Alexandria Quartet" by Lawrence Durrell. Published between 1957 & 1960, these books are truly astonishing in their character development and sheer longing. I find them thrilling. Be sure to read them in order! Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive, and Clea.