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On September 29, 1970, President Gamal Abdel Nasser died of a heart attack. The hysterical outpouring of grief at the state funeral dramatized the depth to which the loss of this charismatic leader shook the Arab world. Few men have achieved the love, prestige, and adulation that Nasser received from the Arab masses. Yet, in reality, Nasser’s political life was a tragic story. This book is a careful analysis of Nasser’s belated attempts to modernize the rural areas of Egypt. It documents the political, economic, and social factors that made Nasser’s dream for his people unattainable in his lifetime. Forced to choose between domestic needs and international challenges, Nasser’s attention was too often directed beyond the borders of Egypt. His vision of renewed Arab greatness, his dream of Arab unity, and his concern for Arab development often distorted his perception of his own country. While no one who personally conversed with Nasser doubted his sincere desire for a better life for the peasants of the Nile Valley, many noted his tendency to allocate resources more on the basis of dreams rather than the realities of Egypt’s domestic problems. Granted permission to move freely through Egypt’s twenty-five provinces prior to the 1967 travel restrictions, James B. Mayfield had a unique opportunity to personally observe Nasser’s dramatic attempts to bring progress and development to his people. The two decades of Nasser’s rule colored and shaped events in Egypt for many years after his death.