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Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs Hardcover – 12 Nov 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (12 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1137278609
  • ISBN-13: 978-1137278609
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

Mr. Brier is proficient at elucidating Egyptology, and his passion is so sincere and good-humored that his book is rather charming. "The Wall Street Journal"

Egyptomania does a good job of tracing the chronology with which Egypt fever caught on. "The New York Times"

A lively account combining history and popular culture with guidelines for possible future collectors. "Kirkus Reviews"

Obelisk-envy, international politics, psychology and the mania generated by the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb all appear, broken into readable chunks by amusing subheadings and illustrations. [Egyptomania] is enjoyable and informative - everything one could want from a history book. "Press Association Review, UK"

This is a delightful romp through key formative events that shaped our popular passion for all things ancient Egyptian. Bob Brier's always entertaining style keeps the pace moving, yet manages to inform and educate with historical context as well. Not many scholars today can write with equal comfort about Napoleon's invasion and King Tut's Party Mix, the harrowing tale of towing an obelisk to London and Cleopatra had a Jazz Band'. "Peter Der Manuelian, Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology, Harvard University"

Ancient Egypt has captivated people from Caesar to Cher and this entertaining and highly readable account by television's " Mr. Mummy," Bob Brier is an informative and engaging overview of the subject. From its engaging forward by none other than Egypt's premier archaeologist, Zahi Hawass to its discussion of the "King Tut" exhibition, Egyptomania chronicles every aspect of the subject including cigarette packs, Boris Karloff and the thrilling and sometimes harrowing efforts to move the great obelisks. "Dr. Peter Lacovara, Senior Curator, Carlos Museum, Emory University""

Book Description

A rollicking journey through the history of our infatuation with pharaohs, mummies, and pyramids, from the preeminent Egyptologist known as Mr.Mummy

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is light reading, and parts of it are interesting. The colour plates reproducing a fascinating array of items of Egyptomania are of excellent quality, and the author's comments on the ways in which ancient Egypt has been portrayed in film are often entertaining.The informal writing style is usually clear, while there is an extensive bibliography. But the writing is too casual in places. We are told that an early film showed " a female golem" which is defined as "a Frankenstein-like creature". Frankenstein was the doctor who created the monster, not the monster. We are told that early Christians forbade mummification because it " suggested a pagan physical resurrection of the body, not a spiritual one as in Christianity". This reads oddly: Christians believe in a bodily resurrection. The writer spends pages 197-8 telling us the genesis of his theory that Tutankhamen was murdered, and the success of his related book and documentary, but he doesn't mention that this is one theory among many and not at all widely held; much medical investigation had produced more convincing explanations. His account of how an obelisk was shipped from Egypt to New York , and how received there, takes up 39 interminable pages, compared with 11 for a similar French shipment and 20 for the British transport of Cleopatra's Needle. He writes with apparent approval of the way in which Thomas Hoving secured the inclusion of one of the golden goddesses from Tutankhamen's tomb for exhibition in America. He was wrongly told by Egyptian staff that the 4 goddesses were carved with their base from one piece of wood, and thus immovable.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
What this book should have been called is 'Bob Brier Talks about Himself and His Personal Collection of Egyptomania, But Without Any Meaningful Thought'; this would sum the contents up nicely. What the book does not do is offer any sensible discussion of the reception of ancient Egypt in the West, for which you will need to seek elsewhere. (I would recommend Consuming Ancient Egypt by Sally MacDonald.)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Highly erudite and entertaining book on the cultural impact Ancient Egypt has had on the Western world, and primarily from an American perspective, from when the Greeks "discovered" it to the present day. Bob Brier is well known for his previous books on various subjects about Ancient Egypt and his numerous excellent television documentaries, and readers can feel they are in expert hands with this book. It is full of interesting details, some not so well known, others more so. There is a fascinating chapter about why and how the various obelisks were transported from Egypt to other countries around the world. There is a chapter about Ancient Egypt in films. Here, as in all the other chapters, Brier could make condemnatory comments, or in the case of all these films, eviscerate them. Yet he does not, and this is good, for his book is about the impact of Egypt on us and how we see Egypt. He praises films such as "Land of the Pharaohs" because of the spectacle and the feeling of how ancient Egypt is, even though historicaly the film is ridiculous. Likewise he praises films such as the original "Mummy" with Boris Karlov. All the way through, this is a good natured and humorous read and will not dissapoint. A word about the introduction by Zahi Hawass. He has his detractors, yet in this introduction he is brilliant, and at times laugh out loud funny in his anecdotes of experiences with "pyramidiots", and he comes across as a real individual who is passionate about the history of his country, emotionaly so towards the end. It is he who says the words that I used for the title of this review, "This is a magical book", and it is.
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Format: Hardcover
There is a well-known saying: “From a tiny acorn, the mighty oak tree grows”. In Bob Brier’s case, his childhood passion for collecting acorns led to a mania for collecting all things Egyptian, beginning with a collection of books, but quickly expanding to prints, posters, teapots, Cleopatra soap and even a “Barbie of the Nile”. So although a bona fide Egyptologist, he also understands the powerful lure of Egypt outside of academia.

After an amusing introduction from Zahi Hawass (recounting some of his more bizarre experiences of meeting Egyptomaniacs!), Brier begins with his own collection, and asks why Ancient Egypt is so fascinating to so many people: “the hieroglyphs seem undecipherable, the pyramids appear unbuildable, the art is unsurpassable, it’s thousands of years old and it’s still there”. Of course mummies play a large part in the attraction, which is why children will rush straight to the Egyptian section of a museum, rather than go to admire a Greek vase.

We are then taken back to the “Birth of Egyptomania”, with the writings of Herodotus and the Roman passion for Egyptian style and culture following Cleopatra’s ‘conquest’ of Caesar and Hadrian’s grand tour of the Nile. Further chapters explore the influence of Napoleon’s expedition, the dispersion of obelisks and the digging of the Suez Canal, as well as the mania for mummy-related songs (see page 10), mummy movies and ‘Tutankhamen Superstar’.

A selection of Egypt collectables are presented in black and white photographs, including cigarette tins, homeware, mummy bracelet charms and song sheets, together with a detailed bibliography. Brier ends with a look at the Egyptomania of the future; with major discoveries (such as the tombs of Cleopatra, Alexander and the pyramid- building Imhotep) still to be made there will undoubtedly be large queues for exhibitions and lavish spending on Egyptianising souvenirs for generations to come.

Review by ancientegyptmagazine dot com
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