... a unique, erudite history of the city’s sparkling cultural life from the late 19th century to its decline after the 1952 revolution ... Drawing on memoirs, magazines, newspaper reports and archives, Mr. Cormack has built a riveting, lively picture of Cairo’s nightlife ... Mr. Cormack’s evocative descriptions are packed with bizarre, quirky detail.
... rigorously researched ... vivid detail ... Cormack paints an intoxicating picture of the city’s nightlife, recreating a seedy world little known to the West ... the lives of the enterprising divas are interlinked. Cormack traces an undulating line from one to the other as he skillfully maps out the political and social developments that impacted their careers ... The details Cormack shares of these women’s private lives are enticing and occasionally humorous ... Singer Fatima Sirri’s story is among the book’s most riveting ... Midnight in Cairo is filled with a thrilling cast of supporting characters and extras ... Cormack relies heavily on the dazzling, chaotic stories of these women as they told them in their own memoirs. Notably, he avoids romanticizing and exoticizing their lives ... Cormack deals delicately with...nuance and most certainly does not turn away from it. His book offers real insight into some of the region’s most fascinating women, whose under-appreciated impact is felt to this day.
Decadence and debauchery to some — Egypt’s own 'Roaring Twenties' to many others — drew a cosmopolitan crowd into a scene in which remarkable women rose frequently to the top. Midnight in Cairo is a fizzing tale of an underexplored period.