The Great Pyramid in Giza is probably the most iconic image of ancient Egypt that people know, (perhaps rivalled only by the Sphinx). In my own experience, the man who built it is almost overshadowed by the very monument that was meant to memorialise him. Filling in those gaps and putting some flesh to the stone is what Mahdy does with "The Pyramid Builder".
The book does more than describe the life of Cheops, (though it does that remarkably well). There is a good deal on the world in which Cheops lived, as well as the historical setting that allowed Cheops to do what he did. Mahdy puts Cheops into his historical context, drawing some interesting conclusions from that. Particularly fascinating is the section on how to build a pyramid, should one ever decide that a pyramid would make a cool addition for the person who has it all. Considering the age in which Cheops lived, and the relative paucity of information from taht time, Mahdy presents a rather detailed account of the man and his times, including the prevailing thought and belief systems.
Even though Mahdy is detailed, she does not get overly carried away with her conclusions, being very candid about the lack of it and the gaps in knowledge. In that sense, she has maintained a high degree of honesty about the entire volume.
Although it took some time to get going, the book is a fascinating look into Egyptian life, with a focus on Cheops and his family. I am not normally that interested in ancient Egypt, but I found this book both exuberant and informative, as well as being quite surprising in its revelations. I was especially surprised by Mahdy's contentions that the Great Pyramid was "inevitable".
Anyone who has been fascinated by the dominating appearance of the Pyramid in Giza, will be informed and interested in this book. It is a fine work, and it is thorough. Despite the complete lack of footnotes or endnotes, I found it a great read to get my teeth into.