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8 Reviews
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read, 22 April 2004
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Written in a clear and concise style with copious illustrations and photographs, this book is a fascinating insight into some of the worlds oldest forms of writing. Covering first the work undertaken over the last 200 years to decipher previously unknown scripts such as Egyptian Hieroglyphs and Linear B, and some of the techniques employed to crack their 'codes', the text moves on to scripts still partially or totally undeciphered, such as Etruscan and Indus Valley. The book is evidently the work of an author fully in command of his material, but is presented in astyle and vocabulary accessible to the layman. Thoroughly recommended.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story, 29 Oct 2003
By A Customer
This review is written by someone who knows absolutely zero about this subject. I enjoyed the book overall, and thought it achieved an excellent balance between technical content and ease of presentation. The book is divided into two halves; the first reviews the decipherment of various languages such as Linear B and the Mayan code, and is fascinating, while the second half concentrates on languages that still remain to be decoded. I found the first half much more interesting than the second, and I think that is because there is more of a story to tell. With the second half, there is a sequenced display of indecipherable scripts, but you learn little other than they look like tough nuts to crack. I must admit, I gave up before finishing the second half, but the first half more than compensates.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for the initiated, 26 Nov 2002
First of all don�t be scarred by the subject of this book, wait no, the subject is scary but the way the book is written is not. It describes in detail, with lots of pictures, the way that long lost languages were found and understood again in a simple, enjoyable way. It then goes on to tell of the troubles ahead in deciphering other languages such as the fascinating ronogorongo language of Easter Island.
The book itself was a pleasure to read, easy flowing, informative and very well laid out. Infact I can�t really find a fault with the book at all and easily give it 5 stars�..
IMPORTANT NOTE
This book is not just for people who know the subject. I didn�t know a thing about decipherment until I read this book, purely out of interest and I don�t regret it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic overview!, 19 Mar 2013
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Alan Davies (Aberdare. Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts (Hardcover)
I am a linguist myself, speaking five languages, but ever since I was a child I've been fascinated by languages and scripts. This book is outstanding for its ease of reading a very difficult subject. I loved it from the moment I started reading it. I will read it again, and probably again after that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 26 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts (Hardcover)
This books proves that an account of a highly academic discipline can be made understandable and interesting to the lay person.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to ancient scripts and how to decipher them., 5 Jun 2010
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A. P. J. Jansen (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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You probably have a few books that you bought on a whim without expectations and that now belong to your favorites. Lost Languages is such a book for me. The book has chapters on the well known Egyptian Hieroglyphs and the Mayan Glyphs, but it introduces you also to scripts that you probably have never heard of. It has two parts; one dealing with scripts that have been deciphered, and one part with undeciphered scripts in case you want to give it a try yourself.

The book does not only discuss the scripts themselves, but also tells the story of the people involved. It has a very good introduction in the various ways that you can write something; either using symbols representing things (e.g. Chinese) or representing sounds. The latter can be based on syllables (e.g. Japanese) or phonemes (e.g. Finnish). Combination are possible as well (e.g. English), and the author discusses extensively the problem of how to determine what kind of writing system is used.

The book has lots of illustrations and an extensive bibliography. Andrew Robinson has an engaging writing style, and gives neither too little information to be superficial nor too much to become boring (at least for a layman like me). If you are looking for a great introductory book on the decipherment of ancient scripts, then this is the one to buy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference work for work on ancient languages., 2 May 2014
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This review is from: Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts (Hardcover)
An excellent book, much updated with new developments in decipherment since my old edition . An excellent reference work studying ancient languages.
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4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, 10 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts (Hardcover)
A generally clear exposition of the material offered, though the title suggests a wider scope than the contents of the book cover. The book would be a useful present for any general reader with broad interests.
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Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts
Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts by Andrew Robinson (Hardcover - 16 Feb 2009)
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