Empires of the Plain: Henry Rawlinson and the Lost Langua... and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Buy Used
£0.01
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Expedited shipping available on this book. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Empires of the Plain: Henry Rawlinson and the Lost Languages of Babylon Hardcover – 7 Jul 2003


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£29.95 £0.01


Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st Edition edition (7 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007128991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007128990
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,019,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Visit www.adkinshistory.com for further details, newsletter and events.

Lesley Adkins is a historian and archaeologist, author of numerous critically acclaimed non-fiction books on social and naval history, archaeology, ancient Rome, ancient Greece and Egyptology. Her books (mostly written with her husband Roy Adkins) include 'Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England' (just published and called 'Jane Austen's England' in the US), 'Jack Tar', 'The War for All the Oceans', 'Empires of the Plain', and 'The Keys of Egypt'. They have been translated into several languages worldwide. She lives near Exeter in Devon.

Product Description

Review

Praise for The Keys of Egypt:

‘A fascinating and elegantly written biography of Champollion, doing justice to one of the great stories of academic heroism.’
Simon Singh, Sunday Telegraph

‘A first-rate blend of high scholarship and great narrative pace, this is one of those rare, wondrous books which turns an intellectual adventure into high drama. It deserves a huge audience.’ Douglas Kennedy, The Times

‘A fascinating account of the race to unlock the cryptic language of the pharaohs’ Giles Milton, Daily Mail

About the Author

Lesley Adkins, an archaeologist and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, is the author of several reference books on archaelogy and ancient history, as well as The Keys of Egypt: The Race to Read the Hieroglyphs, the account of the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs by Jean-Francois Champollion, which was published to great acclaim in 2000. She lives in Devon, and is married to Roy Adkins, also an archaeologist and writer.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
9
4 star
0
3 star
2
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 11 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Jan. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was given this book for Christmas and was surprised not to have come across it earlier, especially given the book's topicality, set in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and India. It should really be read by anyone interested in the current conflicts, as so much background is explained here. The author's writing style is deceptively straightforward, without the irritating baggage of flowery adjectives, and presents in a highly accessible way an absolute mass of information - not to mention a fascinating story about the hero of the book, Henry Rawlinson, his adventures, and his great part in the decipherment of ancient cuneiform writing (also his rivalry with Edward Hincks, which is pretty sad really). The bit about Noah's Ark (a touchy subject for many) is actually neatly done, as Rawlinson is posted to the area of Mt Ararat. We then get a short digression on Noah's Ark, and this is then picked up a bit later, when cuneiform is gradually introduced, with Noah, Tower of Babel, clay tablets, and so on. All skilfully done. I came away knowing a great deal more about many topics, such as East India Company, cuneiform, ancient Mesopotamia, Baghdad, and a whole lot more - and I enjoyed the story of Rawlinson's life, largely self-taught, rising through the ranks. What a man, even if he did have a few flaws, which the author doesn't hide. Much recommended book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
I always look at the illustrations before starting a book. To my eyes the paintings of Henry Rawlinson showed such a mild mannered, bookish kind of person he hardly seemed to fit the hype on the cover. But I saw only a part of him. It is hard to imagine how a man of such astonishing ability could have the opportunity to develop so many of his talents these days - do men of such ability exist in these less taxing times? Rawlinson's career in the East India Company's army leads us from England to India, Afghanistan, Persia, and into Turkish Arabia and Baghdad. We explore the countries, the politics of the time, the early days of Archaeology in the region and get a fascinating glimpse of the Middle East and European attitudes as they were then. Places now so familiar from recent news crop up frequently and you wonder if much has really changed. After twenty two years of dedication to his job and studies Rawlinson is finally allowed to return to England, and along with him we exchange the heat of the desert for the heat of academic rivalry; the ambition, competition and intrigue fuelled by false friends. The difference between the circumstances, characters and techniques of Rawlinson and his chief rival Hinks is both poignant and appalling. How they solved the puzzle of cuneiform, unravelled the ancient languages and came to their interpretations would fascinate anyone who understands the structure of languages and grammar, but I must admit this bit went over my head. Not that I felt cheated, as there is so much more to this book. This is a book to inspire and to inform.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 20 July 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book describes the life of the amazing character Henry Rawlinson, and the adventurous life he led as a soldier, explorer and diplomat. He was absolutely fearless in anything he tackled, which made it possible for him to climb up to a cuneiform inscription in Iran that provided the key for decipherment. A very absorbing read and a very good introduction to ancient cuneiform writing.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. G. S. Hawksley on 19 April 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Victorians invariably inspire, and that is certainly the case in the story of how cuneiform was deciphered in the 19th C. told very abley by Lesley Adkins. She takes us to a stage full of larger than life haracters fiercely competing for the prize of being the first to crack the ancient alphabets of Babylon. And the scenery is nearly as interesting as the story: India, Iran, Iraq, an interlude for the Afghan war, club land in London, and Ireland. Centre stage is the ambitious gentlemanly Henry Rawlinson, successful soldier and diplomat who becomes engrossed in trying to find the meaning of the ancient alphabets. And so we find him at Bishapur, Mount Elwand, and Bisitun precariously balancing on ladders in the scorching heat copying cuneiform from the inscriptions on the rocks. Later we join him for the very bloody Afghan war where he has to retreat from Kandahar, clearly as fanatical and doped up then as now. He then foregoes promotion in India and leave to England, so he can be based in Baghdad as Consul to resume work on his `old friends' the cuneiforms. Rawlinson's discoveries were received with great excitement back in London, and he looked set to become the winner of the race. But it wasn't quite so simple, for he was not alone. There was Austen Henry Layard, who had a less than formal education, but was widely read and was especially enamoured by `Arabian Nights'. After turning his back on a profession in the law, he borrowed £300 from his mother and started travelling east, towards Nineveh, where he spent hours drawing the ruins, including the cuneiform: soon he was in correspondence with Rawlinson.Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dumuzi on 13 April 2010
Format: Paperback
As part of my research I had already read Henry Creswicke Rawlinson bios from his brother George; as well as Robert Silverberg. Both of those publications seemed to lack an insightful feel to Henry's personality. I wanted to know who Henry married and a little more about his life in the U.K.. What better place than Amazon UK? I wasn't disappointed. Lesley Adkins satisfied my goal. I got a short bio on his wife and sons and a great literary picture of Henry's rivalry with his arch rival Edward Hinks ( a side story barely breached anywhere else). If you're studying Rawlinson-catch George Rawlinson's book in the Public Domain and add this book to season to taste.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again


Feedback