12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
History as a moral science,
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This review is from: The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt (Paperback)
This is a truly amazing read.
The author doesn't like the political and economic system of ancient Egypt. The Pharaoes suffered from megalomania, and they suppressed and exploited there population. This we are told at every other page, ad nauseam. It is not surprising, that the rulers of the past do not live up to the standards of today, but it is strangely anacronistic to be told this throughout the book.
Who cares about Wilkinson's moral judgment, except himself?
Worse, after having found out that Ancient Egypt was bad, he loses interest. There are a thousand fascinatiing questions which could have been raised, e.g. the intricate problems of chronology and the question what we know for certain and what are merely educated guesses. But nothing in the book about this. Nor about hieroglyphs. And very little about the economic system (market versus planeconomy, how did they manage without money?). We are told about the system of granarie, but mainly when this system breakes dow And of course: The rulers did not establish the granaries for the benefit of the people, but because they themselves had an interest in it!
There is also very little about everyday life, that is apparantly precluded by the authors vendetta - after so many thousand of years! - against the rulers.
The main problem with moral history is that it makes the author not curious in his subject. Amazing that such a thrilling subject can be made boring.