Hero of the Crossing

Hero of the Crossing

How Anwar Sadat and the 1973 War Changed the World

Thomas W. Lippman

336 pages
1 map


January 2016


$34.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

In eleven dramatic years, Anwar Sadat changed history—not just that of Egypt, or of the Middle East, but of the entire world. As the architect of the 1973 war against Israel, he gained the support of other Arab nations and inspired the oil embargo that transformed the global economy. Following the war, however, he forever ended Arab aspirations of unity by making peace with Israel. Early in his presidency, Sadat jettisoned Egypt’s alliance with the Soviet Union and turned to the United States, thereby giving the West a crucial Cold War victory. Sadat’s historic tenure still resonates in the twenty-first century as the Islamic activists—whom he originally encouraged but who opposed his conciliatory policy toward Israel and ultimately played a role in his assassination—continue to foster activism, including the Muslim Brotherhood, today.

Thomas W. Lippman was stationed in the Middle East as a journalist during Sadat’s presidency and lived in Egypt in the aftermath of the October War. He knew Sadat personally, but only now, after the passage of time and the long-delayed release of the U.S. State Department’s diplomatic files, can Lippman assess the full consequences of Sadat’s presidency. Hero of the Crossing provides an eye-opening account of the profound reverberations of one leader’s political, cultural, and economic maneuverings and legacy.

Author Bio

Thomas W. Lippman is a journalist specializing in Middle Eastern affairs and American foreign policy. He is a former Middle East bureau chief for the Washington Post, as well the author of numerous magazine articles and books, including Egypt after Nasser: Sadat, Peace, and the Mirage of Prosperity; Inside the Mirage: America’s Fragile Partnership with Saudi Arabia; and, most recently, Saudi Arabia on the Edge: The Uncertain Future of an American Ally (Potomac Books, 2012).


"Lippman, a professional journalist of the highest quality, writes in an impeccable, beautiful style, making the book readily accessible to readers of all backgrounds."—Kirk J. Beattie, Middle East Journal

"A well-informed book."—William B. Quandt, Middle East Policy Council

“Lippman, a great storyteller and analyst of modern Middle Eastern politics and history, is able to explain Sadat the man: his motives, contradictory character, and political metamorphosis. Through extensive research and personal observation, Lippman provides a compelling narrative about how the ‘Hero of the Crossing’ changed the trajectory of the modern Middle East and global politics.”—David Dumke, director of the Prince Mohammad bin Fahd Program for Strategic Research and Studies at the University of Central Florida

“Tom Lippman offers a fresh and much-needed new assessment of Anwar Sadat. . . . Lippman shows how the oft-underestimated Sadat became one of the most consequential figures of the twentieth century.”—James M. Lindsay, senior vice president, director of studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair at the Council on Foreign Relations

“Tom Lippman has given us a sophisticated and nuanced view of Anwar el Sadat. Sadat is a more complicated and controversial figure than the ‘martyr for peace’ portrayed in the West. Lippman sheds new light on this historical figure, adding immeasurably to the understanding of Sadat, Egypt, and the contemporary Middle East.”—Steven A. Cook, Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

“This is a work of impressive depth and ambition, written by one of the most experienced and insightful observers of contemporary Middle East. With verve and impressive command of Egyptian history, Lippman reexamines Sadat’s conflicted legacy, shedding new light on his years in office and how his policies and his decisions, including his mistakes, have continued to have reverberations for Egypt and the rest of the Middle East in the decades that followed. . . . For anyone interested in the serious study of the Middle East, this is a must-read.”—Mehran Kamrava, author of The Modern Middle East: A Political History since the First World War

“Lippman combines deep reporting with smooth writing. Sadat, a mystifying and monumental figure, finally gets the book he’s earned.”—Richard Cohen, columnist for the Washington Post 

Table of Contents

A Note on Arabic Words and Names    
Chronology of Key Events    
1. The War of Redemption    
2. The Eclipse of the Soviet Union    
3. Oil Goes to War    
4. Stranger in a Strange Land    
5. The Separate Peace    
6. The End of Arab Nationalism    
7. The Rise of the Islamists    
8. The Tarnished Legacy    

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