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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A social history
Barry Kemp's 'Ancient Egypt' is not quite what you might expect: it is a social history of ancient Egypt and does not follow a chronological pattern at all. What it does do, though, is to give the background to the ideas and society which gradually developed into the fully formed state.

The book is divided into three parts, looking at the formation of the Two...
Published on 8 July 2011 by The Tome Raider

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8 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly presented hardback
This review does not challenge the quality of Barry Kemp's work but the poor quality of this hardback edition. It does not have a dust jacket and the boards are as bland as can be and presentation of the cover is a mystery for the graphic does not relate to the contents.

I generally buy hardback editions to grace my bookshelves and do long term justice to a...
Published on 25 Nov. 2006 by Michael F. Freer


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A social history, 8 July 2011
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This review is from: Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation (Paperback)
Barry Kemp's 'Ancient Egypt' is not quite what you might expect: it is a social history of ancient Egypt and does not follow a chronological pattern at all. What it does do, though, is to give the background to the ideas and society which gradually developed into the fully formed state.

The book is divided into three parts, looking at the formation of the Two Lands of Egypt, the bureaucracies and civil servants of the Middle Kingdom and then the mature New Kingdom Imperial state and how it gradually collapsed, mainly due to events totally beyond its control (although a dynasty of weak Kings helped). Even if you only count the high points from the 3rd to the end of the 18th Dynasty, the kingdoms of Egypt lasted over 1,500 years and this book helps us understand how such great continuity could have happened.

Very well illustrated, with many line drawings, the author has used the most recent archaeological evidence to illustrate his description of the ideas behind the rise of the Egyptian state.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate, 29 Mar. 2013
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Valerie David (Asilah, Morocco) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation (Paperback)
I read this book immediately after reading John Romer's excellent "A History of Ancient Egypt from the First Farmers to the Great Pyramid" and found it a perfect complement to Romer's work. It certainly increased my knowledge of the period. Since Barry Kemp is a specialist on El Armana, the chapter on this particular period was brilliant, I will certainly buy the book he has written on his work there. For anybody interested the the lives of the ancient Egyptians, this is certainly a "must". Valerie David
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Insight, 31 Jan. 2008
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This review is from: Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation (Paperback)
This is the 2nd, revised and expanded version of what was already an Egyptological classic. Barry Kemp's deep and wide-ranging knowledge of ancient Egypt, its archaeololgy and its written records, is on full display. Perhaps just as important are the perspectives Kemp gives to life in ancient Egypt by inviting us to compare it to the modern world around us. Probably the best single book on ancient Egypt from the last 30 years.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Cultural Intellectual and Social History of Egypt, 1 Aug. 2010
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Marcolorenzo (Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation (Paperback)
I don't think I have learned more from any one book on Egypt than I have from this one. This is a cultural - intellectual and social history of Egypt and is not in any way a traditional Historical - Dynastic - Political - Chronological account. Kemp evaluates and interprets large bodies of archeological evidence in a most fascinating social-cultural way, telling a continous tale about the culture of Ancient Egypt - what the royal palaces were like, what the houses of the nobles were like, what kind of dress was probably seen within the walls of the royal palace, etc.. You will learn what the ancient Egyptian ate, what they considered important about their identity, how they viewed themselves in comparison with their neighbors and enemies. Many floor plans are presented of royal and domestic architecture as well as the plans of the cult temples and mortuary temples. Kemp also makes frequent reference to questions about our own times that the ancient Egyptian culture could provide answers for, or alternative solutions. The author is also very interested in the history of consciousness and how it evolves through the ancient Egyptian society up to and including our own time. The questions he poses about Egyptian and modern society failures are most intriguing and pertinent. Reading this study, the ancient Egyptian people who created the monuments we are often familiar with, really come alive as living human beings. You get inside the culture of Egypt and into the working mind of the royal noble and worker classes. This insight into the working of the Egyptian mind is also reinforced through analyses of the pictorial and architectural heritage presented. Many of the wall paintings and stone tablet designs have been re-drawn as line drawings to help better explain and demonstrate their meaning. Many line drawings and line renderings have been produced especially for this text. There are also many maps and many town plans and a fine discussion of ancient town planning and urban design. Egypt's economics and economic history are discussed in interesting detail as well. There is a long and detailed analysis of Egypt as a unified state and the concept and evolution of "statehood" as it applies to Egypt. There are also many fascinating details on ceremonial procedures and festivals and festival rituals through an analysis of the archeological, natural and artistic remains of this heritage which have survived. The book reads like an in-depth psychological/archeological study - a fascinating historical and mythological tale.
In order to have a clear chronological/historical reference you will also do well to read the Oxford History of Egypt by Ian Shaw as a companion text as well. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 7 April 2015
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This review is from: Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation (Paperback)
arived on time good value for the money goog study book
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great all round archaeological source, 16 Dec. 2007
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D. LIGHTBODY "davel22" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation (Paperback)
This is a great book as it discusses the theories in light of the actual archaeological evidence. I think its probably the best book on Ancient Egypt I have read period.
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8 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly presented hardback, 25 Nov. 2006
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Michael F. Freer - See all my reviews
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This review does not challenge the quality of Barry Kemp's work but the poor quality of this hardback edition. It does not have a dust jacket and the boards are as bland as can be and presentation of the cover is a mystery for the graphic does not relate to the contents.

I generally buy hardback editions to grace my bookshelves and do long term justice to a fine publication. In this instance do yourselves a favour and buy the better presented paperback at a fraction of the price. I wish I had. I will be writing to the publisher asking them to do better.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!, 2 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation (Paperback)
For anyone who is studying this topic or people who are interested in it, this is a fairly good read! I recommend it!
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Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation
Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation by Barry J. Kemp (Paperback - 3 Nov. 2005)
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