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During the 1970s and early 1980s, Egypt experienced swift economic growth resulting from a regional oil boom. Oddly, this economic growth hardly registered in Egyptian public discourse, which continuously claimed that the country was experiencing multiple economic, social, and cultural crises. This book sets out to investigate this discrepancy and to offer a revisionist history of the period. It documents the massive socio-economic mobility in Egypt by analysing relevant statistical data and ethnographic evidence, indicating the changes in the employment structure and the spread of mass consumption. Relli Shechter further examines a wide array of cultural resources, such as Egyptian academic writing, the press, the cinema, and the literature, in which critics lamented ‘what went wrong’ in Egypt. By doing so, he offers a local version of a wider Middle Eastern and international story: the global formation of middle-class societies whose members strove for respectable lives with only partial success.