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Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

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Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#1 by capucine
» 07 Feb 2013, 22:02

[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."

I give it 3 out of 4 stars, deducting one star because there are a number of typographical errors.

***
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#2 by hsimone
» 22 Dec 2016, 06:37

Thank you for your informative review. I don't really know much about Egypt and this seems like a great book to learn about a different culture and the history of this country. Too bad about the errors, however, I'm glad that you were able to still enjoy the read!
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#3 by Gravy
» 22 Dec 2016, 06:43

The fact that each chapter is about a different person interests me. However, historical rarely tempt me, but who knows?
Thank you for the review :)
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#4 by gali
» 22 Dec 2016, 07:31

Sounds like a good book for those interested in exploring foreign cultures. Too bad about the typographical errors.

Well done on the review!
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#5 by AA1495
» 22 Dec 2016, 10:12

I'm glad that you enjoyed reading the book! Wish it was edited better though! Thank You for the well written review!
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#6 by bookowlie
» 22 Dec 2016, 10:46

Nice, insightful review! The subject matter seems interesting. It sounds like an extra round of editing would improve the book.
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#7 by CrescentMoon
» 22 Dec 2016, 12:06

This sounds like a very informative book. I don't know much about Egypt and I definitely feel like I could learn a lot from reading this. Good job on the review!
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#8 by Vulgate
» 22 Dec 2016, 12:16

It's always interesting reading about changes occurring in a nation. Well written review!
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#9 by bluegreenmarina
» 22 Dec 2016, 12:25

Wow this sounds like a really good way to learn about the history of this time and place in the world; thank you for the review! Adding it to my list... :techie-studyingbrown:
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#10 by Celticlady
» 22 Dec 2016, 12:58

This sounds like an interesting saga of a family! Great review! I have added it to my TBR stack!
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#11 by gnblackmanjr
» 22 Dec 2016, 13:01

Thanks for the review--I enjoy historical fiction, particularly when it is on a subject about which I need to learn more. Thanks for piquing my interest!
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#12 by Scott
» 22 Dec 2016, 13:06

The review above is based on a PDF copy from 2013.

I just downloaded the live production version from Kindle (which would be mobi format not PDF). It appears to me to be formatted incorrectly. Namely, the font-size jumps from bigger to smaller. :(

I would never read a book with this kind formatting problem, and I would hope a reviewer would rate a book with such serious errors as 1 star if they did choose to even finish reading it.

This is a shame because the book is being featured as Book of the Day today. If I had noticed that error before today, I would have cancelled it being Book of the Day.

The book is temporarily free, though, for Book of the Day. Free might still be a good deal if the formatting will be fixed. My suggestion is to get this book while it is free, but wait to read it until the publisher fixes the formatting. Your free Kindle copy should automatically update when it is fixed.

With that said, the fact that the publisher didn't notice this mistake before making it live or at least before now is very alarming. So even though that's fixed, it makes one wonder about the overall quality of the publisher and of the book. :/
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#13 by gnblackmanjr
» 22 Dec 2016, 13:12

Thanks for the heads up on the formatting issue, Scott!
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#14 by Vermont Reviews
» 22 Dec 2016, 13:16

I liked the review and the preview. Even though with the font changes the story was still interesting.
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P.S. Don't worry Scott the font changes are really not that important.
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Re: Official Review: From Feast to Famine by Butros Hanna

Post Number:#15 by gali
» 22 Dec 2016, 13:26

Scott wrote:The review above is based on a PDF copy from 2013.

I just downloaded the live production version from Kindle (which would be mobi format not PDF). It appears to me to be formatted incorrectly. Namely, the font-size jumps from bigger to smaller. :(

I would never read a book with this kind formatting problem, and I would hope a reviewer would rate a book with such serious errors as 1 star if they did choose to even finish reading it.

This is a shame because the book is being featured as Book of the Day today. If I had noticed that error before today, I would have cancelled it being Book of the Day.

The book is temporarily free, though, for Book of the Day. Free might still be a good deal if the formatting will be fixed. My suggestion is to get this book while it is free, but wait to read it until the publisher fixes the formatting. Your free Kindle copy should automatically update when it is fixed.

With that said, the fact that the publisher didn't notice this mistake before making it live or at least before now is very alarming. So even though that's fixed, it makes one wonder about the overall quality of the publisher and of the book. :/


I thought at first it was intentional, but it didn't really bother me.
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