18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2007
John Pendlebury is perhaps best remembered now for his role in the Battle of Crete, in which he died aged 37. This final episode is well-covered here, with a perceptive analysis of Pendlebury's last days and the reasons why the exact circumstances of his death remain mysterious. But the greatest strength lies in the description of Pendlebury's important archaeological career in Egypt and Crete, written by an insider who has worked at many of the same sites, and can also place P's work within the academic context (& academic politics) of the time. There are some wonderful descriptions of the landscapes in which P. walked and worked, drawing extensively on P's diaries and letters.
Grundon is also very good on Pendlebury's character, in some respects very much a product of his time and background, but tinged with a romantic aspect that allows empathy to the reader.
I read this book after reading classic biographies of two other Egyptologists, Howard Carter (by James) and Flinders Petrie (by Drower); this book reaches the same standard, and is as readable. Warmly recommended, especially to those interested in the Aegean, Egypt, or the history of archaeology.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2008
A wonderful and balanced study of the life of this charismatic archaeologist - warts and all. Fascinating detail about the nuts and bolts of inter-war Egyptian and Aegean archaeology, with its cast of colourful characters, and something of a travelogue as well. Having worked in the area as an archaeologist herself, Imogen Grundon was well qualified to write John Pendlebury's biography, and her book should appeal to both archaeologists and a wider reading public. The book is well researched - both in the written sources, and by field study. The examination of Pendlebury's final days on Crete in 1941 illuminates the way in which myths are born,and the problematic status of many conventional historical accounts.