Thursday, July 5, 2018
Grand Hotels of Egypt: In the Golden Age of Travel Paperback – October 21, 2015 by Andrew Humphreys (The American University in Cairo Press)
Books about Egypt fall into a few categories. There are hundreds on ancient history and Egyptology, tens of photography/coffee book ones – few of them are any good and the good ones are out of circulation; then you got your lonely planets, a few books by academics trying to go mainstream (boring, tackle very specific subjects, and always around the $100 mark), and more recently memoirs, mostly written by the even expanding Egyptian diaspora. Books that do not fall into one of the above categories are few and far between. This is one of them. I know hotels pretty well, and I know hotels in Egypt quite well, from the 1800s to present – its what I do for a living. This hotel really tackles a subject that opens up Egypt to the reader in more ways that you can imagine.
The stories, the characters, the history, the architecture, and the allure of Egypt as one of the greatest destinations for travel and migration in the 19th century, its all there and captured in a well written and light reading manner by the author. This is not a subject that is easy to tackle given the research difficulties that plague any writer who wants to understand Egypt in the last 200 years, let alone capture its history visually. This was done here with a good outcome, and I can only imagine that this first edition will be the foundation for more editions to come as the author updates it with more pictures, knowledge and stories - there is a lot that still needs to be told about Egypt's grand hotels in the age of travel. Buy this book if you want a travel book, a history book, a picture book and a book about stories, all in one. I highly recommend it.