7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A social history,
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.