Protecting Pharaoh's Treasures: My Life in Egyptology
By Wafaa El Saddik with Rüdiger Heimlich. Russell Stockman, trans.
2017, AUC Press, 978-9-77416-825-3, $24.95 hb.
Reviewed by Jane Waldron Grutz on September 15, 2017
In this delightful memoir archeologist Wafaa El Saddik deftly weaves the story of her life into the story of her country, going back to the time of the pharaohs. She writes with sensitivity about a career that has taken her to Europe and America and, more importantly, to a deep understanding of her beloved Egypt. Beginning with her childhood in the Nile Delta, she sweeps us through her years of study in Cairo and Vienna and into a profession that initially placed barriers to her advancement, yet ultimately fulfilled her dreams. El Saddik’s story is about more than herself, however. It is also about the turmoil of Egypt, from the Suez Crisis of 1956, through the Israeli occupation of the Sinai in 1967, to the demonstrations in Tahir Square in 2011 and beyond. She not only offers new insights into the past glories of her country, but provides a deeper understanding of contemporary Egypt as well.