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Howard Carter (Tauris Parke Paperbacks) [Paperback]

Professor T G H James
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 May 2006 Tauris Parke Paperbacks
In November 1922, a momentous discovery - unlike any other before or since - was to change our understanding of the ancient world. Until now however, the marvellous story of Carter's quest for Tutankhamun and its culmination in his unearthing of the intact, treasure-filled tomb has been told without a reliable account of the man behind the discovery and the myths that have surrounded it. Howard Carter's career was a remarkable one: he had arrived in Egypt 30 years earlier as a 17-year old 'tracer' with rudimentary education, and progressed to become the first Chief Inspector of Antiquities in Upper Egypt. An improbable but auspicious partnership with the 5th Earl of Carnarvon developed in which the young Carter acted as assistant and 'learned man' to the aristocrat's excavations in the Theban necropolis. But, it was the legendary discovery in the Valley of the Kings and Carter's painstaking clearance of the intact royal burial that was to secure his place in history. He became an international celebrity, simultaneously honoured and vilified wherever he went, but he was also a sad, disillusioned man whose success never brought any reward of happiness. TGH James' definitive biography is both the story of perhaps the most renowned archaeologist of all time and of an essentially tragic human being.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 513 pages
  • Publisher: Tauris Parke Paperbacks; 2nd Revised edition edition (26 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184511258X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845112585
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 13.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 484,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'This book cannot be more highly recommended to those who love archaeology, Egyptology or maintain a fascination with Tutankhamun and his tomb. As a biography it is first-rate.' - Donald P Ryan, Archaeology '...a serious vintage served by the most knowledgeable of wine-waiters'. - John Ray, Times Literary Supplement '[This] book will delight those eager to learn about archaeology abroad' - Gerald Cadogan, Financial Times

About the Author

T.G.H. James is a former Keeper of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum. He has published extensively on Egyptological subjects, including Tutankhamun (Tauris Parke).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Howard Carter 4 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very long and detailed biography of Howard Carter that covers his long career in Egyptology in some detail. The author has unearthed many private archives of those associated with the man himself to provide insights into the background to many key events, such as the notorious Saqqara Incident and its aftermath which led to Carter resigning from the Antiquities Service in Egypt. The author does not shy away from Carter's difficult and fractious nature, but he does rather tend to seek out excuses for his behaviour, and emphasise the great achievements his dogged nature could achieve. It is certainly true that the clearance of Tutankhamun's tomb could scarcely have been in better hands. However, the author does not always draw the conclusions that the evidence suggests, and Julie Hankey's biography of Arthur Weigall shows James' judgement to frequently be way off on that score.
Overall, this is an essential book for anyone studying the career of Carter or the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb, and corrects many errors found in other accounts. However, further information - together with some balances and checks - are to be found in Hankey's and Hoving's books too.
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A detailed autobiography of Carter was overdue and this is exactly what TGH James brings his readership. The dust is carefully swept off Carters artistic beginnings and his hardy, earnest and curmudgeonly personality by James persuasive and well researched text. Carter played every emotion but stubborn outrage close to his chest. His telegrams and letters to Lady Carnarvon and to his long term collaborator Arthur Maces widow (on the deaths of the two most important men in his working life) are strangely blunt and empty. Similarly James seems to have less truck with the emotional aspects of the story. More could have been said about the arguments between Carnarvon and Carter (and Carnarvons rather moving and vulnerable attempts to rekindle their friendship)? Why was Carter never married or engaged? James plays down the relationship that has been suggested between Carter and Lady Evelyn Herbert. One feels that this business like no-nonsense approach to a working life would have pleased Carter immensely. Overall there is plenty here for those interested in the discovery of Tutankhamun in KV 62. It is an excellent read and provides a unique and balanced view of the controversies surrounding Carter. This balance is welcome after the more sensationalist and politically revisionist texts of the 80's and 90's. It is worth remembering that Carnarvons estate and Carter himself left the boy king and his fabulous objects in Egypt (perhaps against their will but James makes the point that Carter was ahead of his time and preferred this option). Carter had a remarkable (and for those days unfashionable) understanding of the inhabitants of the village of Gurna and Egyptian culture. Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Astonishing Achievment 19 Jun 2009
By William Klein - Published on Amazon.com
Anyone who loves archaeology, and in particular, the story of Howard Carter and his discovery of Tutankamun's tomb, will love this almost novel-like biography. T.G.H. James, former keeper of Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum, writes with the clarity, insight and understanding of a novelist of the first order. The book is a gem that belongs in the library of everyone fascinated with Howard Carter, his life and his times.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete biography 11 Jan 2004
By Wayne - Published on Amazon.com
The most completest biography about Howard Carter I 've ever read.Complete story through his successful but regretfu life.
If you 've ever interested about The tomb of Tutankhamen and the man who spent his most of life on it.You should have this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars T.G.H. James on Howard Carter 5 Mar 2011
By T.L.Buck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first became aware of Archaeology in Elementary school on a field trip to the Toledo Museum of Art. I've always been a reader and that experience led me to books on the subject. I cannot remember where I heard the name Howard Carter initially, but wherever, I found Tutankhamen. After that, I read everything I could get my hands on. Carter's publications, articles, other authors but never anything about the man, himself, in detail. Dr. James has done just that. I was very pleased with the book. It has what I was looking for. Personal, in depth biography, warts and all of a truely great man in his field. The fact that he wasn't academically trained makes him even more so. I find it disturbing that he's almost forgotten. A sad commentary on what he accomplished. I loved the book and recommend it to anyone facinated by Egyptology. Well done.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inclusive, detailed, dry 11 Feb 2012
By Critical Grad - Published on Amazon.com
I was first attracted to reading this biography on Howard Carter after watching the BBC series Egypt Egypt (BBC). Carter was depicted in both flattering and unflattering ways, so I decided to embark on my own personal quest to find out as much about the man as I could. Howard Carter: The Path to Tutankhamun helped me to do just that.

This book is simply a one-stop-shop on all things Carter related. From his childhood, peak of fame, and unnoticed death, every aspect of this man's life is written in painstaking detail. At times, you will find day by day and hour by hour accounts of different events that occur. Letters written by him and others are reproduced in full text, and the book is quite neutral regarding controversial subjects.

For the more casual reader, you might find this book to be a bit meticulous and overly detailed, which is why I feel it is more geared to scholars and researchers than the curious history lovers. I do not have any regret in reading it, however it often felt like an ordeal to get through. After my first attempt to read through it, it sat on my shelf for a good 3-4 months before I gave it another try. I am a firm believer that biographies do not need to be dry to the mind, but that does unfortunately happen with this one.

My compliments on the author for a well-written account on the life of Howard Carter. He succeeds in his purpose, yet I feel he fails to entertain in the process.
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