17 JUNE 1949, Page 32

White Shepheard's Watched. By Pennethorne Hughes. Illustrated by Haro Hodson.

(Chatto and Windus. 10s. 6d.)

MR. HUGHES was brought to Egypt by the fortunes of war and the B.B.C., and has now written a book about that much described but little understood land. He starts, like all visitors, from Shepheard's Hotel, but unlike nine out of ten of them he walks down the steps into the street, picks his way through the guides who throng round him, plunges into the side-streets and even into the countryside where, in war or peace, the mass of Egyptians lead their industrious lives. The result is a book of intelligent observation which ought to have been written ten years ago in time to be in the hands of the many British and allied troops who wanted to learn something about the country in which they found themselves. There is a good deal of urbane reminiscence in these pages about the peculiar conditions of war-time Cairene life, which will arouse affectionate memories among old Groppi and Gezirah hands, but which will leave anyone who did not have the fortune (or misfortune, according to taste) to experience this exotic interlude as unmoved as do the pages of some unknown school magazine. The reader who penetrates to the descriptions and analysis of contemporary Egyptian social life will be rewarded.