When Sir Eldon Gorst succeeded Lord Cromer as Agent and Consul-General in Cairo in 1907, Britain effectively ruled Egypt and the Sudan. The period Gorst spent in Egypt was critical in shaping Africa''s history.
The British government gave Gorst the task of liberalising the Egyptian regime, a role he pursued with vigour. However the reforms he introduced satisfied neither Egyptian nationalists nor British expatriates, who believed he was merely pandering to agitators. Pressure increased after Boutros Ghali, the Egyptian Prime Minister and Gorst''s close ally, was assassinated in 1910. Under immense strain, Gorst suspended his reform programme and a year later he was dead from cancer.
Gorst''s role in determining the path taken by the government of Egypt is often overlooked. Power and Passion in Egypt offers a timely assessment of his contribution and argues that his was an honourable attempt to share government with the Egyptian people.