4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Yet another book about Tutankhamun,
This review is from: Tutankhamen's Curse: The developing history of an Egyptian king (Hardcover)
The real curse of Tutankhamun is that people keep writing books about him.
This book has the trademark stamp of Joyce Tyldesley - scholarly yet readable. Unfortunately, in her efforts not to jump to conclusions fron what she regards as inconclusive evidence ( a practice that bedevills egyptology ) she finds it difficult to come to a conclusion about anything. For exmple, she is surprisingly dismissive about the recent DNA testing overseen by Dr Zahi Hawass which demonstrated, anongst other things, that Tutankhamun most likely died from a virulent form of malaria. Not so, says thia author. By adulthood he would have developed an immunity to it. Presumably then, other mummies will show a similar chemical signature for the disease. Neither can we assume that he had a club foot (his left). This deformity could have been caused by tight wrapping says Joyce Tyldesley. Again, you would expect other mummies to show a similar defect if this were the case. Nor can we infer, from the the presence of walking sticks in his tomb, that he walked with a limp. Not necessarily, says Joyce Tyldesley, they were also a symbol of authority. OK, but why 130 of them? And so it goes on, to the point where I finished the book knowing less than I started with.
Her caution momentarily deserts her when she describes Horemheb, an eminently more interesting pharaoh than Tutankhamun, as a shadowy figure who can't even have been a very good general as his successors spent so much time reestablishing Egypt's northern borders. How's that for jumping to conclusions!
This is a useful book if you are a beginner to the subject, but if you are not my guess is that you will be disappointed and even frustrated by it. There's nothing new here. It's a review of the evidence, non of which seems to satisfy the author.
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Initial post: 13 Dec 2013 18:34:40 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Dec 2013 18:36:47 GMT
If you want definitive conclusions based on scanty evidence then watch any of the trash TV documentaries that exist. Ancient history and archaeology are not like that, they are continually in a state of flux. There is very little concrete proof about this entire period and Ms Tyldesley's book reflects this uncertainty. If that doesn't suit you, then I'm sorry but there are no easy answers, just a lot of difficult questions. By the way, her comments about Horemheb are quite logical. Finally, she is not sceptical enough (in my opinion) about Dr Hawass' DNA 'evidence', which has come in for far greater maulings than it was given in this book.
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