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Max Rodenbeck is a famous western journalist who began writing for the Economist in 1989. He was later appointed chief of the Middle East and Northern Africa area. He began his studies at the American University in Cairo as a Mass Communications Major then after completing his studies he went to get his MD in the United States. Without a doubt Max Rodenbeck was inspired by his father John Rodenbeck to become a great writer like him. One of Max's greatest books is Cairo: The City Victorious it was published in eight different languages, in addition Max Rodenbeck is one of the contributors to the New York Review of Books. Max Rodenbeck is also interested in topics ranging from wars in Iraq and Lebanon to radical Islam, Arabic pop culture and the ancient art of distilling arak. Cairo: The City Victorious is outstanding title, this is because in his book he talks about Cairo's history how it falls and rises, the title itself tells the reader than after falling and rising it has finally won and is now victorious. The book also talks about the 'Cairenes'. The Cairenes are the inhabitants of Cairo throughout the centuries, Max Rodenbeck examined the life's and attitudes of them comparing them with their ancestors he also came very close to the indomitable spirit of the Cairenes and how they and their city endured though the ages. Cairo the City Victorious is a book about mainly Cairo and its residence however it does talk about the Iraq and Lebanon war and other things but it is of no relevance to us. Furthermore the book has a wide range of facts and useful information to the reader the first person travelogue which switches from present to past is a very pleasant way to interest the reader. Max Rodenbecks's biography of Cairo is a detailed timescale of his life in Cairo, he shows us the beginning where it all started for him through the middle age period until the present day
Max Rodenbeck give us the feeling in his writing that he is our guide for our journey in Cairo, his descriptive way in writing about the city give us the readers the feel that we are on the streets of Cairo with him, he makes us imagine the buildings, streets, lights and the people like we have never seen them before. He uses influential descriptive language to make us see what he is seeing right now without confusing us with over complicated words. Max Rodenbeck also gave us the feel of reliability and comfort, when he used our native language to describe something. It makes the reader feel that this writer is trustworthy and isn't just one of many writers who tried to describe Cairo and failed. One of the best examples is "Swooshing up to five star hotels in their zalamukkas, budras and fagras" (Page 291). This alone tells the reader that he isn't just a native speaker but an experienced Cairean. It also shows how much he knows the people he is writing about, this giving the feel of reliability. Max Rodenbeck was favored for his expertise concerning the topics he is writing about. "The most elegant bootmaker on Qasr al-Nil Street in the 1950, used to put a single beautifully crafted shoe in its window. Now, like all the others on the street, its display is crammed with enough footwear to shoe Cairo Stadium" (page 292). Max Rodenbeck clearly shows us here that he knows what he is talking about as he made reference with the belle epoche days of Cairo, this gives the reader an idea that Max Rodenbeck prefers the belle epoche days more than the present days. Max Rodenbeck tried to target all audiences; he used occasional sarcasm which really gave his book an edge and would amuse any reader. Another quotation which indicates that the writer Max Rodenbeck preferred the epoche belle days of Cairo-1920s-1930s "all these noble buildings still reflect the glorious time when Cairo was the most princely capital in the world."(page 293) This is one of his many referrals back to the belle epoche age of Cairo; however this one especially shows the reader how much he preferred old Cairo over new Cairo, the use of many strong adjectives like glorious truly shows how much he is trying to emphasize the greatness of this city.
Furthermore Max Rodenbeck uses a very logical structure to describe comparison of the rich and poor and the old and new. "Districts like Muhandisin have trendy chain outlets, supermarkets and air conditioned offices; Bulaq al Dakrur has corner stores and open-fronted workshops. Muhandisin has hospitals performing heart bypasses and cosmetic surgery; Bulaq has cut-price clinics, herbalists and midwives."(Page 287) This sentence clearly shows us the massive gap between the rich and poor. Max Rodenbeck give us the sense throughout the whole book that he has taken sides with the poor for example "those who did not have parks, and high-rises built of reinforced concrete and did not live in districts that have convincing facade of boulevards and modern buildings, of street lights and signs." Max Rodenbeck has remained consistent throughout his book in stating that the poor are overshadowed by the rich and that they aren't of importance to the rich. Furthermore Max Rodenbeck described how Cairo changed structurally by using logical and descriptive language "But the clearest example of Cairo's elite trying to escape the crush of the city was the founding of al-Qahira, The Victorious, in AD 969" then he stated that "rich Cairenes have begun to head for the desert hills."(page 290) Max Rodenbeck explained to us how the city of Cairo came to be and now how the rich have started to migrate to the desert seeking sanctuary from the crowded streets of present Cairo. The reader here may feel sympathy for the poor as they are trapped in the congested streets of inner Cairo, also the reader may start to take sides with the poor as they are being neglected and mistreated as lower class by the government and the rich society.
In addition Max Rodenbeck has used effective language to make the reader feel even more passionate for the less fortunate people of Cairo throughout the book. "Life in the Popular Quarters can be hard. The absence of privacy, the confining of wives and unmarried daughters in tiny apartments, and the lack of playgrounds for children create conditions for explosive family quarrels." Max Rodenbeck explains to us the intense conditions the less fortunate people of Cairo live in, also he explains that due to these intense conditions fights and quarrels are somewhat expected from anyone who lives in these sort of conditions. Rodenbeck continues on saying later in the book "Considering the depth of poverty in some parts of the city, the overall level of public safety is remarkable. Perhaps this is because, despite Cairo's size most of its people still live in village scale compartments. They know their neighbours. They care for their family reputations. They look on their small world as real."(Page 288) The wording used here by Max Rodenbeck is an extremely effective way of creating a sense of how poor some people of Cairo are, however he tells us even though these people are poor and uneducated they still are proud of themselves for who they are. Max Rodenbeck also states how unfair it is for the poor that they are stuck in the crammed streets of Cairo while the rich are fleeing the city and living in mansions on the desert hills. "'Everyone dreams of living here', gloats one advertising plug, 'but not everyone can afford to'." (page 291) This sentence tells the reader that it is not fair for the rich to be able to escape the city and the poor cannot, what Max Rodenbeck wants is equality between the classes of people, for example he stated that if the rich can move out they poor should be able to also if the poor cannot afford to move out it is they should live at peace in the city.
Furthermore Max Rodenbeck stated in some detail how the city of Cairo slowly deteriorated itself throughout the years. "The sense of space has changed, Mosques, street vendors and parked cars conquered sidewalks intended for strollers." Max Rodenbeck tried to explain to us how Cairo was defeated by its own people, the verb conquered shows the reader how it was at war with its people and how they people of Cairo came to destroying it. They might have not destroyed it intentionally however it doesn't mean that they haven't destroyed its true beauty.
Reading the book Cairo: The City Victorious really opened up my perspective to my people, I had always thought I know my people like I know the back of my hand, however after reading and thinking I was astonished on how little I know my people. Max Rodenbeck explained a lot of points in great depth and detail without boring the reader with excessive amounts of detail. I have also learned more about the struggle between equality in Cairo where the rich dominate and the poor can only accept that fact, also Max Rodenbeck spoke about a very interesting point it wasn't in the extract we got of the book however it fascinated me, he said that the pyramids were build in 30 years however this fact isn't necessarily true, he explained that in order for the pyramid to be build in 30 years each 2.5tonne block has to be placed in exactly 2 minutes so that they could complete the 2.3 million total amount of blocks that there are today in 30 years. He also spoke about how the structure of living in Cairo has changed over the centuries in relationship with the Nile, where the poor and rich now live. Furthermore Max Rodenbeck spoke about the importance of Islam and the struggle to find a balance between religion and the secular world. All these topics put together in one book created a monumental book for the readers to absorb.