5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Lacks focus or new insight,
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This review is from: 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Turning Points in Ancient History) (Hardcover)
The title suggests precision, but it is just an average date for the Delta Sea Battle of Ramesses III, commonly viewed as being more Pharonic propaganda than history. I found the book an ill-disciplined sprawl covering a selection of events from the whole of the Mediterranean Late Bronze Age regardless of whether or not they were directly related to the 1177 BC event. For example: there's Shelley's hoary old Ozimandius quoted when Ramesses II gets a mention, and an Amarna Letter from Tushratta despite Mitanni being long gone by 1177, which seem to be included to raise the word count. The claim to be up to date rests on references to a large number of academic papers, but these are mostly unavailable to the lay reader and inadequately summarised by Cline. When a paper is available on the Internet - Tell Tweini - the author's dismissal of its content seems unwarrented. Recent new information about the Urtenu tablets from Ugarit would have been appropriate and welcome, but Cline gives no text details only a summary gloss. The book also suffers from poor production quality: only two maps which disappear into the binding, 11 monochrome figures mostly already well known and a misleadingly incomplete schedue of kings which erroniously lists Mursilis II as a contemporary of Ramesses II. Cline mentions that he was writing his brief guide to Troy at the same time as this one and the publisher's deadline was patently too tight for him to do a decent job on 1177, but Troy is a good read. The books by Manuel Robbins and Nancy Saunders are much better guides to the Sea Peoples despite their age.