Above all, it is a work without contradictions, at least for its composer. It is an autobiography in which chronology and history, even more significantly perhaps any of the social transformations of the society which the author now leads through one of the most complex periods of its long and complex progress, are curiously underplayed, even disregarded.
Since mere sequence or event are of hardly any fundamental importance, the book can be opened and read at any point and started again at any other, like a series of meditations. Such a deliberately unproblematic book confronts any reader with a real puzzle.
What exactly is this text one is reading, so opaque in its generality, so unparticular, non-specific, so full of silences? Is it, in short, as unproblematic as it seems? One of the answers to these basic questions lies in the treatment of the ghostly figure that flits uneasily in and out of some of these pages. How do you kill a dead king? And when you are his recognized successor, the victor in an internal power struggle for his throne, how do you both consolidate his legacy, since you are structurally part of it, and dismantle that same legacy, since you represent different constellations of social, political and economic interests?
Sadat is a product of the revolution of that removed the monarchy. He was a member, a founder member, of the group that made the revolution.
In search of identity : an autobiography
In some ways, indeed, he is a much more typical figure of it than Nasser himself. As a young officer he was nationalist, religious and anti-imperialist, but with no theoretical or developed ideology beyond the need to drive the British from Egypt.
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Michael Gilsenan, In Search of Sadat, NLR I/, September–October
By Anwar el-Sadat. New York: Harper and Row, Dekmejian, Richard H.
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