The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt Hardcover – 2 Aug 2010
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'A sophisticated and complete account of the world's first nation state' The Times Books of the Year 'Wilkinson's stirring and clear sighted account of the ancient world's most enduring civilisation comes as a welcome treat' Sunday Times Books of the Year 'I had always presumed, before I read Wilkinson's book, that it was impossible to write a history of Egypt which combined scholarship, accessibility, and a genuine sense of revelation. I was wrong' Observer 'A comprehensive, illustrated history focusing on the dark side of the Pharaohs and some harsh political realities' The List
A brilliantly readable, beautifully illustrated general history of ancient Egypt, from the builders of the first pyramids to Cleopatra --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Having got my grumble about the book off my chest, it is an excelllent introduction to the history of the Two Lands, from the end of the Predynastic to the coming of the Romans and it is very easy to read. It is well illustrated and the end-notes give good references to other books for those of us who want to know more, and, best of all, it does give a timeline version of events so that we can read about which King followed which and how their reigns differed.
Originally, I only gave it 3 stars, but that was because I disagreed with some of Dr Wilkinson's conclusions - and that was unjust. It does deserve 4 stars, for the clarity of the writing and the general presentation.
Covering some 3000 years through to Cleopatra, Toby Wilkinson's very readable book is as entertaining as it is comprehensive. If you accept that it is personal but solid piece of popular history with all the shortcomings that these books do have, I'm sure you will enjoy it. The writers view that the Pharaohs were little more than tyrants is a perfectly acceptable one considering the huge amounts of manpower demanded by force to fulfil his/her desires. Egypt was not a democracy, it was a self perpetuating autocracy and therefore a dictatorship by default. The masses in such systems are little more than a resource to be used and dictators usually get what they want one way or another, always backed up by military force. There are those who have an opposite view and they are as entitled to theirs as the writer is to his
You're not going to become an expert reading this book but you will become informed enough to decide if you want to read or perhaps study further.
I enjoyed it very much.
The author doesn't like the political and economic system of ancient Egypt. The Pharaoes suffered from megalomania, and they suppressed and exploited there population. This we are told at every other page, ad nauseam. It is not surprising, that the rulers of the past do not live up to the standards of today, but it is strangely anacronistic to be told this throughout the book.
Who cares about Wilkinson's moral judgment, except himself?
Worse, after having found out that Ancient Egypt was bad, he loses interest. There are a thousand fascinatiing questions which could have been raised, e.g. the intricate problems of chronology and the question what we know for certain and what are merely educated guesses. But nothing in the book about this. Nor about hieroglyphs. And very little about the economic system (market versus planeconomy, how did they manage without money?). We are told about the system of granarie, but mainly when this system breakes dow And of course: The rulers did not establish the granaries for the benefit of the people, but because they themselves had an interest in it!
There is also very little about everyday life, that is apparantly precluded by the authors vendetta - after so many thousand of years! - against the rulers.
The main problem with moral history is that it makes the author not curious in his subject. Amazing that such a thrilling subject can be made boring.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting book! Really good read for those interested in Egyptology. Arrived early aswell so really pleased.Published 1 month ago by Elizabeth Smith
Extremely well written and reasonably authoritative, given the inevitable uncertainties concerning events so far back in history. Read morePublished 6 months ago by P. Harvey
Excellent book. In depth, well written and engaging, which is important in a book spanning the length of Egyptian history! Great readPublished 13 months ago by Gemma
a very good book for those that want a book that covers a large subject,from early years(bc) until later years(ad)Published 15 months ago by paul foukes
Loving the history of ancient Egypt this gave a great insight into the timeline of the dynasties and the changes to the society through out the period.Published 18 months ago by domwales
Great introduction to a vast and complicated history of one of the most fascinating human civilizations. Readable account of Pharaoh's and conflicts.Published 24 months ago by VD