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While such historic monuments as the pyramids at Giza, the Karnak Temple, and the Valley of the Kings draw visitors to Egypt each year, the country is today a large and varied collection of some 79 million people. An important political and cultural force in the Middle East and home to one of Africa's most advanced economies, Egypt is rapidly becoming a major player in the 21st-century world. This comprehensive text examines all facets of life in Egypt, including its land, history, politics, and culture. It is written in a manner that makes the subject accessible and engaging for readers with little prior knowledge about the country, but also provides a critical analysis of the latest research for students and scholars familiar with Egypt and its people. Special attention is given to the historical period following the rise of Islam to enable a greater understanding of Egypt's contemporary government, religious practices, popular culture, and current events.