Kitroeff's book focuses on the special relationship of the Greeks of Egypt with that country and its population. His twofold argument is noteworthy: that Greeks have played a particular role in the making of modern Egypt, contributing to its economic life as exceptional merchants, but also in its cultural and social arenas. Moreover, Kitroeff, professor of history at Haverford College, notes that the prominent and fruitful Greek presence in Egypt is the outcome of the Greek diaspora's ability to "adapt to changing circumstances and navigate successfully between their ties to their Greek homeland and the Egyptian home." He details the Greeks' contribution to the modernization of Egypt but avoids romanticism and exaggeration.
The book is organized chronologically into eight chapters from Muhammad Ali,
who invited a group of Greek merchants to cross the Mediterranean and settle in Egypt, to the Nasser era when the Greeks began to lose the privileges that helped them rise to prominence. The book concludes by shedding light on the nostalgia that the Greeks of Egypt feel about their past.
Kitroeff's well-researched and eloquently written book will be of interest to academics in many different disciplines addressing Greece, Egypt, diasporas, colonialism, and more. The book is also accessible to the interested layman. Finally, the timing of Kitroeff's work is auspicious. First, by highlighting the special relationship between Greeks and Egyptians, he usefully emphasizes Egypt's cosmopolitan past. Second, he provides important background to growing networks of cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean between Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt, and increasingly with Israel.