73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 1999
Whether your interest in the pyramids is historical, archaeological or esoteric, this has to be the best book available. It's very well written by an author who really knows his subject, and it systematically covers all the pyramid monuments of Egypt. Although the text is scholarly it's also very readable, and each pyramid is covered in a separate section so it's easy to look up a particular pyramid or dip into the book at random. Most importantly, however, it is fabulously illustrated, not just with superb colour photographs but with diagrams and computer reconstructions. For every pyramid there is a map showing its location, and detailed plans and cross sections showing the complete structure and substructure with all the tunnels, shafts and chambers. The book manages to strike a perfect balance between presenting factual detail and stimulating your imagination, and is the next best thing to an actual visit to Egypt. I really can't recommend it highly enough.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
This has got to be one of the reference books you have in your rucksack when you visit any of the pyramids. I would actually rate this book as “best value” for the wide spectrum of information, photographs and diagrams at your disposal. If you are on a budget or need a starter book this is the one to go for; read it and move on from there.
Mark Lehner has hit the right spot with me with this cracking all round winner. I particularly like the format of “The Complete…” series such as Complete Valley of the Kings and The Complete Tutankhamum because the sections are almost stand alone and allow you to drop in and out at your leisure. This one really is a stormer with approximately 550 illustrations with about 80 in colour.
Mark Lehner was a proponent of alternative theories and was inspired by the sleeping prophet Edgar Cayce. However, Mark found out that linking Atlantis to the Pyramids did not stand up to scientific scrutiny but continued his work with a new found scientific method and joined the ranks of mainstream Egyptologists. The rest is history because this book is written by an accepted academic but readable. I would strongly recommend this book for any readers who enjoy alternative theories regarding the pyramids. You can use this book to form a baseline of generally established facts before accepting the latest interpretation without a point of reference. At the end of the day you are still the judge but at least you have compared it work that has generally undergone peer review.
There book has five main sections: Introduction, Tomb and Temple, Explorers and Scientists, The Whole Pyramid Catalogue and The Living Pyramid. The introduction is a short section providing an overview of pyramid statistics, chronology of Pyramid builders, locations, pyramid profiles and standard pyramid complex.
Tomb and Temple is relatively short and introduces Ka, Ba, burial rituals, the netherworld, pyramid texts, akhet, duat and ben ben stone. This is a brief but sound trip into the myths and rituals of the underworld.
Explorers and Scientists is a relatively short summary of the famous names such as: Herodotus, Manetho, al-Mamum, Abd al-Latif, John Greaves, Benoit de Maillet, Pococke & Norden, Davidson, Napoleon, Belzoni, Caviglia, Vyse, Lepsius, Mariette, Petrie, Symth, Reisner, Borchardt, Emery, Lauer, Firth, and Quibell. A detailed breakdown of recent explorations 1887-1997 is provided along with a summary of recent discoveries.
The Whole Pyramid Catalogue is the largest section in the book and this is where the book opens up in front of you, literally. Some pages are folded back on themselves in order to allow the reader to unfold a four page panoramic view and better experience visually the author’s viewpoints. A combination of maps, line drawings and photographs provides the budding explorer with an armchair experience of the pyramids. From the pictures and diagrams the reader should be better able to construct a minds-eye 3-D image of the major pyramids and have a feel for the layout of passages and chambers.
The living Pyramid explores the possible methods by which the pyramids may have been built, but with emphasis on objective evidence such as tomb relief’s, ramps, ancient tools and NOVA experiments. There is a guidance section offering advise on visiting the pyramids to help the researcher or tourist optimise there time in Giza, Saqqara, Abusir and Meidum. In the closing pages of the book there is an excellent guide to further reading and references to the sources, quotations and illustrations used throughout the book.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2007
I have been to Egypt, the first time was in 1993, and I made my mind up that I'd like to study Egyptology.
Although in my second year of studying Egyptology, during my first year this was one of the books I used to widen my knowledge about all the pyramids in Ancient Egypt, it wasn't a study book but I was glad to find it.:-)
It's an excellent book for discovering the pyramids and has some fantastic photographs. It's brings you up to date with the latest discoveries through using modern technology. It's packed with lots of information and covers all the known pyramids up to the time of printing of the book. It's defiantly worth the money.
Whether you are studying Egyptology, going away to Egypt for a holiday or just enjoy reading about the Egyptian history it's a fantastic book to give you an insight to what the pyramids were used for and how they functioned.
It makes an excellent edition to my little Egyptian library, which now stands at nearly 1000 books on this subject. :-)
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The author Mark Lehner has written or contributed to a number of historical books, several of them on Egyptian history and this I think is the best of them all. The pyramids were one of the seven wonders of the world and still are one of the world's wonders, although far removed from the glorious sight that they must have been in ancient times.
It is probably true to say that more has been written about the pyramids than any other man made structure on earth and that includes the Great Wall of China and our own Stonehenge. Much of what has been written about the pyramids has been conjecture and to put it kindly stretching the truth to make a good story. The author himself is no stranger to putting forward theories of his own regarding the pyramids and it is up to the reader's how much credence they place in these and other theories. What we do know is that the pyramids were built to precise measurements, so accurate in fact that even today with all the modern building equipment at our disposal we would struggle to emulate the ancient builders. They were also aligned in a particular direction and calculations of where exactly the stars appeared in the Egyptian night sky at the time of their construction, could suggest that at least one of their uses was astronomical
This book quite rightly concentrates on the main Egyptian pyramids and the sphinx and covers all the latest data formulated by today's archaeologists and scientists. This includes how the pyramids were thought to have been built, a Herculean task in itself. Also there are exciting computer generated images of the inside of the pyramids, in fact just about every question you could ask is answered for you in this superb book, even down to a guide for visiting the pyramids themselves.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 September 2010
This is a superbly produced book. I bought the hardcover and have been very impressed with the quality and detail of the many photos and cut away diagrams. It is ofcourse the "offical" story so beloved by Hawass which is strange considering Lehners origins with the Edgar Cayce foundation. However dont let that put you off, its a fantastic book to look at if not read.For better info on construction methods id recommend the book by Davidovits.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2013
This book has pretty well everything you will need to know about pyrramids.
Following an introduction on generalisations there are sections on a)tomb or temple (each pyramid is a tomb of a king of Egypt but is also a temple) b)explorers and scientists c)a pyramid catalogue and d)the living pyramids (details methods of building)
A remarkable work of research ands writing. The illustrations,drawings and photos are excellent.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2009
Complete with wonderful colour pictures, extensive diagramms and maps, and including an account of the excavational history and notes on present day access to the modern sites, I cannot imagine a more all-embracing up-to-date synthesis of the subject