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4.0 out of 5 stars The golden kingdom, 25 Dec 2010
This review is from: Egypt's Golden Empire: The Dramatic Story of Life in the New Kingdom (Paperback)
"Egypt's Golden Empire" is a popularized book about the New Kingdom, the period in ancient Egyptian history lasting from 1550 BC to 1069 BC.

This was the "classical" period in Egyptian history, when Egypt was a great power, controlling an empire from Nubia in the south to Syria in the north. Even the kings of Babylon had to send tribute to the Egyptian rulers. Most well known pharaohs lived during the New Kingdom: Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, Tutankhamen and Ramesses II. And, of course, Akhenaten's famous queen, Nefertiti. Of equal importance, but perhaps less known to the general public, are Thutmosis III, Amenhotep III, Horemheb and Ramesses III.

Tyldesley takes the reader on a fascinating journey through New Kingdom history and monuments. The book also contains chapters on the lives of women, soldiers, peasants, artisans and undertakers. There is also a chapter on Egyptian religion.

"Egypt's Golden Empire" isn't a scholarly work. It's intended for the general public. However, the author is an archaeologist with a special interest in Egypt. The book is refreshingly free from sensationalist speculations about connections between Akhenaten and Moses, the ultimate fate of Nefertiti or the "murder" of Tutankhamen. It's solid (almost a bit boring) Egyptology through out. But then, it may come closer to the truth than the more speculative works...

My only problem with this book is that it lacks an introductory chapter on the Old and Middle Kingdoms, and a concluding chapter on later periods in Egyptian history. The reader might get a bit confused reading a book about ancient Egypt which doesn't mention the pyramids or Cleopatra!

Still, this is definitely the book to start if you know absolutely nothing about New Kingdom Egypt, or need detox from more sensationalist and pseudoscientific works.
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