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The Pyramid Builder: Cheops, the Pharaoh Behind the Great Pyramid [Hardcover]

Christine El-Mahdy


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Book Description

7 July 2003
Four and a half thousand years ago, the largest of the wonders of the ancient world was built. The Great Pyramid at Giza has fascinated and intrigued scholars ever since and it is the only one of the wonders listed by the Greeks to have survived intact to this day. By the time Tutankhamen ruled Egypt it was already 1500 years old; to Cleopatra it was an antiquity. But how was it built? Why and by whom? The Great Pyramid, thought to be evidence of a slave-culture on a truly despotic scale, has fascinated travellers and archaelogists since the 19th-century revival of interest in antiquities. And with it a fascination with the pharoah who built it: Cheops. This book takes a look at the man behind the monument - the life and times of Cheops, the greatest pyramid-builder of them all.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing; 1st Edition edition (7 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075531008X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755310081
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.4 x 3.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,290,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Christine El Mahdy is a widely renowned Egyptologist whose interest in the subject started as a child (she taught herself to read hieroglyphics aged nine). She has worked in the Egyptian departments of Bolton Museum and Liverpool University Museum and, in 1988, she founded the British Centre for Egyptian Studies which she now runs. She has previously written three internationally bestselling books on ancient Egypt.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than Just a Pyramid Obsessive 10 Nov 2006
By Mouldy Pilgrim - Published on Amazon.com
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Biography of Cheops and Review of his Epoch 9 Aug 2011
By Thomas A. Hanson - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Christine El Mahdy is an accomplished writer, and she presents her decades of on site research and deep study of Egyptology in an entertaining way. I am well into the book as this review opportunity arrives, and I am looking forward to the rest of the adventure. My personal interest is human leadership, so this follower of Imhotep is of great interest. However, it would appear that the circumstances that allowed Cheops to assemble over a million people to build a monument over 20 plus years are not directly applicable to the present era, when global leadership is so clearly lacking. The mystique of Cheops as a God cannot be (and should not be) reproduced today. Still, I am hoping there may be something useful to be gleaned from Ms Mahdy's interesting account. (th)
5.0 out of 5 stars good book 14 Jun 2008
By F S Frederick - Published on Amazon.com
This is a great book about Khufu and his pyramid. The way the author describes the building methods of pyramids is quite reasonable.

Has anyone noticed this before? The access to the King's Chamber from the Grand Gallery is very constricted, and the King's Chamber seems to be a rather small room. Khufu had decades to amass his grave goods. If he was buried in the King's Chamber, how were his coffin(s) and burial goods gotten into the room with the access so restricted? Could there be undiscovered chambers in the Giza pyramids?

Given how well the Great Pyramid was designed, access to the King's Chambers seems rather awkwardly planned. Are archaeologists sure that the Ascending Corridor was used to place Khufu's stuff in the chamber? Could there be undiscovered corridors in the pyramids?
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