23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
INFORMATIVE, ENTERTAINING, AND EMINENTLY READABLE,
This review is from: A History of Ancient Egypt: From the First Farmers to the Great Pyramid (Hardcover)
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AMAZON REVIEW 1
I liked this book, as the five stars indicate. John Romer is what I would describe as a writer of the old school - beautifully constructed prose, with no needless embellishments, eschewing the habits, so frequent amongst modern writers of popular history and science, of references to contemporary "celebrities" (to show how "cool" they are), patches of purple prose, dramatisation of facts and events, with sometimes not a little added fantasy (in the hope of a TV series). He presents the facts punchily, unembroidered, and without needless distractions, but still in an easily readable style. If I said his writing was "scholarly" that would be true, too, but might convey a wrong impression to those who, like me, are not so scholarly...
It's perhaps just as well there's no superfluous prose here; the book already runs to around 500 pages and deals with 2500 years of REALLY ancient history, starting in 5000 BC, and ending with the pyramids; a second volume dealing with post-pyramid history is promised for 2 years' time; I shall look out for it. The sheer volume of archeology practised in this fascinating country, coupled with the preservatory effect of the desert sands, and the development of hi-tec evaluation of traces has revealed much of the minutiae of ancient life that has disappeared elsewhere. One may enjoy reading about the brewing of beer 5,000 years ago, even down to its ingredients, which suggest that whilst low in alcohol, it would have been highly nutritous (when will simulations appear in boutique pubs one wonders ?).
Thirty or so pertinent and welcome illustrations punctuate the book's pages, and a 20 page index hints at the pleasures to be found herein, with entries such as "smiting, macing and bludgeoning", "cosmetics", "weddings and marriages", "cooking herbs", "penis sheaths", and, of course, "beer" (14 references...)
My only complaint is that the bookbinders have the let down the author and publishers; the lower parts of the pages began to detach from the spine as son as I began to read, and continued to do so throughout the entire book. A poor advert for the British printers. Penguin please take note.