In this provocative and wide-ranging history, Joel Beinin examines fundamental questions of ethnic identity by focusing on the Egyptian Jewish community since 1948. A complex and heterogeneous people, Egyptian Jews have become even more diverse as their diaspora continues to the present day. Central to Beinin's study is the question of how people handle multiple identities and loyalties that are dislocated and reformed by turbulent political and cultural processes. It is a question he grapples with himself, and his reflections on his experiences as an American Jew in Israel and Egypt offer a candid, personal perspective on the hazards of marginal identities.
"The best sort of historical revisionism—sophisticated but unobtrusive in its use of theory, consistently contextual in its assessment of sources and texts, open-ended and suggestive of broader implications in its conclusions."—James Jankowski, coauthor of Redefining the Egyptian Nation, 1930-1945