At last, a definitive biography of Champollion in English! ... A memorable, enjoyable and beautifully written historical detective story. --Brian Fagan, author of The Rape of the Nile and Floods, Famines and Emperors
An entertaining, highly readable and authoritative biography of the greatest decipherer of all time, the man who almost single-handedly enabled us to read the hitherto mysterious Egyptian hieroglyphs. --Michael D. Coe, author of Breaking the Maya Code
Andrew Robinson ... here shines his lamp of Diogenes on the Frenchman who broke the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic code, illuminating anew Jean-Francois Champollion's fascinating life as well as his prodigiously fertile work. --Paul Cartledge, author of Alexander the Great and Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities
Highly readable ... a thorough, comprehensive account of the father of Egyptology and a very enjoyable read ... handsome and well recommended. --Scottish Pharaonic
Robinson's biography is a most welcome and long-overdue study in English of an enigmatic and still controversial genius. His splendidly produced and absorbing book should be in every Egyptologist's library. --Peter Clayton, Egyptian Archaeology: The Bulletin of the Egypt Exploration Society
Robinson's trademark approach insightful presentation of the context of research, understanding of the individual through archival investigation, and clear explanation of the script that is being deciphered Is immediately apparent in Cracking the Egyptian code. --Antiquity
Fills a yawning gap in Britain, providing a definitive modern history. --History Today
An important book ... Robinson has drawn on a substantial literature but the real work in here is admirably his own --The Independent
Very readable ... especially good at placing the politically radical Champollion in the historical context of post-revolutionary France --Eastern Daily Press
A feast ... [Champollion's story] is brought out by Robinson with verve, elegance and perception. --The Financial Times
Cracking the Egyptian Code is the first biography in English of Champollion, widely regarded as the founder of Egyptology. Andrew Robinson meticulously reconstructs how Champollion cracked the code of the hieroglyphic script, describing how Champollion started with Egyptian obelisks in Rome and papyri in European collections, sailed the Nile for a year, studied the tombs in the Valley of the Kings (a name he first coined), and carefully compared the three scripts on the Rosetta Stone to penetrate the mystery of the hieroglyphic text. Robinson also brings to life the rivalry between Champollion and the English scientist Thomas Young, who claimed credit for launching the decipherment, which Champollion hotly denied. There is much more to Champollion's life than the Rosetta Stone and Robinson gives equal weight to the many roles he played in his tragically brief life, from a teenage professor in Revolutionary France to a supporter of Napoleon (whom he met), an exile, and a curator at the Louvre.
Extensively illustrated in color and black-and-white pictures, Cracking the Egyptian Code will appeal to a wide readership interested in Egypt, decipherment and code-breaking, and Napoleon and the French Revolution.