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Mr. M. A. Bowles "Scientist" (Lincolnshire, England)
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The Search For Nefertiti
The Search For Nefertiti
by Joann Fletcher
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Most Beautiful one has arrived...in the 21st century, 25 April 2006
Anyone with a mild interest in things Egyptian was stunned and excited while reading the Sunday Times Magazine, two-part "The Nefertiti Discovery" June 8th and 13th 2003. This was followed up by a Discovery Channel Programme later in the year, plenty of E-Mail site responses and eventually the book. There is even a Discovery Channel website that highlights some of the most compelling evidence with plenty of pictures of Joann and suspected King Nefertiti: [...] The impact of the findings was somewhat like detonating a small nuclear device; the fall-out has lingered and produced camps for and against the evidence fighting it out in the atomic winter.

The Amarna period in ancient Egypt is fascinating and the possibility of Nefertiti being discovered was for me, a show stopper. The build up to this book were the articles in Weekend Magazine and programmes on channel four. With my appetite wetted I was waiting in anticipation for the book to be published and ordered it in advance on the strength of Joann's TV appearances. This was first excursion into the book-world of Joanne Fletcher having only seen her on the box as a high profile authority on mummification. I had no idea about her writing style and wondered if her terminology and content would leave me confused, high and dry. However, Joanne has a no-nonsense attitude and communicates well to those of us lacking a formal education in Egyptology. The book is without jargon, very readable and difficult to put down once started. The story line is supported by maps of Egypt, Egypt and Nubia, Thebes, 13 black and white figures, 2 black and white X-Ray plates and approximately 50 excellent colour photographs.

In summary the twelve chapters of the book are split into the initial 5-chapters where Joann introduces herself and formative years linking into the enigmatic Amarna period. The Tomb where the suspected Nefertititi has rested, KV 35 is dissected in chapter 6 and in chapter 7 Joann discusses some high achieving females. In making a case for Nefertiti as King Joann reviews previous female Pharaohs such as Cleopatra, Tawosret, Hatshepsut, Sobeknofru and Neithikret. This makes interesting reading because I feel there is a general misconception amongst the general public that only Hatshepsut of the 18th Dynasty made it to the top slot. The Armarna period is covered in Chapters 8 to 10. The visit to the side chamber where the suspected Nefertiti has slept all these years is brought to life in chapters 11 and 12 where the author takes the reader into the Crime Scene Investigation and has you studying the plentiful supply of images.

I enjoyed learning about the authors' background; however I could imagine others hungry for Joann to cut to the chase and get down to the Dr Quincy technicalities of the `autopsy' evidence. On reflection the technicalities of the discovery only represents a relatively small portion of the book and this may disappoint some readers, especially those who are into Scenes of Crimes investigations. I personally would have enjoyed the evidence discussed at more length demonstrating the "fors and againsts". As an improvement to the book I would have appreciated more background information on Nefertiti, perhaps reviewing other authors' findings, theories and speculations, such as Joyce Tydsley's Nefertiti, Christine el Mahdy's Tutankhamun or Nicholas Reeves Akhenaten. It is worth emphasising this is not a book specifically on the life and times of Nefertiti although we are presented with a series of snapshots and brilliant insights.

At the end of the book you have to judge whether there is enough evidence to swing the balance in favour of "Nefertiti is found" and for me, I would require some more objective evidence such as DNA techniques. However, Joann makes her case and you may decide that there is sufficient information already available without the requirement for further scientific analysis-the choice is yours.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Nefertiti, the Amarna Period or someone who just wants an insight into the world of the Egyptologist.


The Complete Pyramids
The Complete Pyramids
by Mark Lehner
Edition: Hardcover

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Picture, 8 Feb. 2006
This review is from: The Complete Pyramids (Hardcover)
This has got to be one of the reference books you have in your rucksack when you visit any of the pyramids. I would actually rate this book as “best value” for the wide spectrum of information, photographs and diagrams at your disposal. If you are on a budget or need a starter book this is the one to go for; read it and move on from there.
Mark Lehner has hit the right spot with me with this cracking all round winner. I particularly like the format of “The Complete…” series such as Complete Valley of the Kings and The Complete Tutankhamum because the sections are almost stand alone and allow you to drop in and out at your leisure. This one really is a stormer with approximately 550 illustrations with about 80 in colour.
Mark Lehner was a proponent of alternative theories and was inspired by the sleeping prophet Edgar Cayce. However, Mark found out that linking Atlantis to the Pyramids did not stand up to scientific scrutiny but continued his work with a new found scientific method and joined the ranks of mainstream Egyptologists. The rest is history because this book is written by an accepted academic but readable. I would strongly recommend this book for any readers who enjoy alternative theories regarding the pyramids. You can use this book to form a baseline of generally established facts before accepting the latest interpretation without a point of reference. At the end of the day you are still the judge but at least you have compared it work that has generally undergone peer review.
There book has five main sections: Introduction, Tomb and Temple, Explorers and Scientists, The Whole Pyramid Catalogue and The Living Pyramid. The introduction is a short section providing an overview of pyramid statistics, chronology of Pyramid builders, locations, pyramid profiles and standard pyramid complex.
Tomb and Temple is relatively short and introduces Ka, Ba, burial rituals, the netherworld, pyramid texts, akhet, duat and ben ben stone. This is a brief but sound trip into the myths and rituals of the underworld.
Explorers and Scientists is a relatively short summary of the famous names such as: Herodotus, Manetho, al-Mamum, Abd al-Latif, John Greaves, Benoit de Maillet, Pococke & Norden, Davidson, Napoleon, Belzoni, Caviglia, Vyse, Lepsius, Mariette, Petrie, Symth, Reisner, Borchardt, Emery, Lauer, Firth, and Quibell. A detailed breakdown of recent explorations 1887-1997 is provided along with a summary of recent discoveries.
The Whole Pyramid Catalogue is the largest section in the book and this is where the book opens up in front of you, literally. Some pages are folded back on themselves in order to allow the reader to unfold a four page panoramic view and better experience visually the author’s viewpoints. A combination of maps, line drawings and photographs provides the budding explorer with an armchair experience of the pyramids. From the pictures and diagrams the reader should be better able to construct a minds-eye 3-D image of the major pyramids and have a feel for the layout of passages and chambers.
The living Pyramid explores the possible methods by which the pyramids may have been built, but with emphasis on objective evidence such as tomb relief’s, ramps, ancient tools and NOVA experiments. There is a guidance section offering advise on visiting the pyramids to help the researcher or tourist optimise there time in Giza, Saqqara, Abusir and Meidum. In the closing pages of the book there is an excellent guide to further reading and references to the sources, quotations and illustrations used throughout the book.


Egypt: The World of the Pharaohs
Egypt: The World of the Pharaohs
by Regine Schulz
Edition: Hardcover

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heavyweight champion, 8 Feb. 2006
Here is a sound, general purpose all rounder that appears to be popular with tourists returning from Egypt as also noted by a previous reviewer. This book must be considered as a challenger for the heavy-weight title, weighing in at about 7lb (3.5 kg) and an approximate 12” by 11” (30 cm x 28cm) format, nearly 550 glossy pages with more than 800 photographs, maps and diagrams. The main strength of this book is the visual impact of the large leaf colour photographs with plenty of one and two page images to ponder over.
The book is split into ten sections comprising, Prehistory, Early History, Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom, Late Period, Greco-Roman Period, State and Society, Gods, Cults and the Kingdom of the Dead and Investigations into the Nile Valley. There are multiple international academic contributors to the book, predominantly from German Institutions. A potential draw back with multiple contributors is each has there own style but the editing of Regine Schultz and Matthias Seidel has helped pull it together. The text has an academic tone that may leave some readers a touch cold. Half the book is committed covering up to and including the New Kingdom.
The earlier chapters considering Pre and early history are relatively brief but contain some excellent images of flint hand axes, stone tools and period wares. I was pleased that so many pages were given to a time period that some books ‘gloss over’. The old Kingdom, classed here as 3rd to 8th dynasties discusses the political history and development of Royal Tombs, there are some excellent photographs of mastabas, statues, Pyramids and Sphinx.
The Middle Kingdom is a relatively short section; classed here as 9th to 17th dynasties has the political history reviewed and moves into the tombs of the Pharaohs, tombs of the Governors and Officials and Temples of the Gods. Some of the colour photographs of wall relief help give you a picture of the high level of craftsmanship of the period.
The New Kingdom, classed here as 18th to 20th Dynasties has the political history reviewed and discusses the Amarna influence. A generous portion of the book is given to the Temples and Valley of the Kings, again with oodles of colour images to help convey the splendour. This section provides the reader with value for money. A section on the valley of the Queens is relatively short as are Private Tombs at Thebes and hidden Tombs of Memphis. The book continues with two short chapters, the late Period, classed here as 21st to 30th Dynasties and runs into the Greco-Roman Period. A touch over half of the book is completed at this point.
The time line analysis is broken and State and society addresses sacred Kingship, beauty and perfection, Hieroglyphs, administration, the Military, Economy and Trade, The Nile, Houses Cities and Palaces, Daily Life and Stone Quarries. This section represents a fair chunk of the book.
Gods, Cults and the Kingdom of the Dead is a fair sized section comprising religious concepts, Gods and deities, the Cosmos, Festivals, Mummification, burial and mortuary cult. Finally, Investigations into the Nile Valley is a relatively short section.
If you wanted a general reference book, for the price it must be considered. You must bear in mind that the book covers a massive time span and therefore cannot cover each time period in great depth. However, as a first stop to refer to before going onto more specialist books this work has got to be in there with a chance.


The Pyramid Builder
The Pyramid Builder
by Christine El Mahdy
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dynasty-the solar version, 2 Feb. 2006
This review is from: The Pyramid Builder (Paperback)
Christine El Mahdy has raised her head above the parapet and put forward some controversial theories that will have you analyzing, contemplating and judging long after reading the book. Pyramids and the Sphinx are in vogue and bookshelves are heavy with academic research, general information and speculative theories. Finding the definitive book is a hard task especially as the original designers did not leave a workshop manual describing the reasons who, what, when, where and how. The author reviews Herodotus’s writings and argues the case that his accounts written many generations after the construction are inaccurate to the point of speculation. Christine El Mahdy has given her ideas on this much debated area and put forward some new concepts. Christine has pinned her colours to the mast of this solar barge and provided the reader with a passage back to the time of construction of the pyramids. The author provides an alternative, fresh view on Cheops, family, friends and the pyramid age with emphasis on the people: ‘psychological profiles’ and what they may have been strategically planning. Christine has taken you behind the public face of the early dynasties “Royal Family” and provides you with a different perspective complete with family feuds, power plays and intrigue. A solar influence is explored, who the pyramids were built for reasoned out and a ‘simple’ method for Pyramid construction described.
People familiar with Christine’s style will enjoy this book, especially if they have read Tutankhamun: The life and death of a boy king. A concept of “Sun worshippers” was explored in that book and is revisited here in detail. Christine suggests solar worship influenced Akhenaten many generations later when he established the cult of The Aten. The main body of the book is sectioned up into four parts, The Family of Cheops, Building Pyramids, The Struggle for the Succession and Burying Pharaoh. This is supported by a map of Egypt and Nubia, a family tree, sketches of pyramid construction methods and colour images of key items.
In Section one the problems associated with accurately dating the period are discussed, the birth of a king, reign length, death and co-regency. Christine takes you back within a suggested “higher confidence time framework” to show you the emergence and growth of the Royal Family leading up to the birth of Cheops. We hear about life within the palace and how this would have influenced the development of our potential Pyramid builder. The author puts forward a case that the generally accepted ‘owners’ were not necessarily who they were built for.

Section two is focused on the ‘bricks and mortar’ and some controversial ideas are explored: the ‘ventilation shafts’, Sun rays, the Pyramid alignment, ramp theories and facing stones. Christine puts forward a simple ‘but revolutionary’ idea on how the construction took place - you must be the judge. I am sure anyone with any structural engineering background will enjoy this hypothesis. The author suggests an alternative source for the workforce to erect the Pyramids and window of opportunity for almost simultaneous construction of several Pyramids.
Section three explores Queen Hetepheres III, the Sphinx and post Pyramid power struggles. A proposal for the original Sphinx face is given and reasons for its re-carving and repainting in the 18th dynasty set out.
Section four discusses the “Solar Boats”, little discussed in many pyramid focused books. I felt this could have been explored further, especially as the discovery in the 1950’s revealed an intact 4500-year old boat.
Anyone who has a keen interest in the pyramids should read this book because it explores existing evidence in new light. However, this is not a book for beginners fresh to the subject because it discusses the work carried out by a wide spectrum of authors such as I.E.S. Edwards, Mark Lehner, Robert Bauval and John West. There are only a few improvements I could suggest for the book. A map of Egypt supplied could be extended to show areas discussed such as Byblos and a guideline King-list could help put the time-period in context. I would like more photographs of areas described in the book supported by supplementary sketches and diagrams to aid the reader; a picture paints a thousand words. For those readers who want to follow up with their own research a bibliography and reference section would be a help. On a purely personal note I prefer Egyptian translations of names such as Khufu rather than Cheops whereas the author has sometimes used the Greek. Alternative names for those described, such as Redjedef also known as Djedefre would have reduced the time I spent cross-referencing.
As an alternative to the Pyramid Builder, I would recommend The Complete Pyramids by Mark Lehner as the academics view point but non the less very readable.


Angels And Demons: (Robert Langdon Book 1)
Angels And Demons: (Robert Langdon Book 1)
by Dan Brown
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Illuminati!, 18 Jan. 2006
I was encouraged by a friend to read the Da Vinci Code and unfortunately I upset them when I fed back my comments (see my review 8 August 2005). There appears to be a following of people who are reading more into Dan Brown’s books and confusing fiction and scientific fact. Unfortunately, ‘Angels and Demons’ is too predictable and unbelievable for me and definitely belongs in a fiction section of your local library. The author strings out a farcical yarn involving the Illuminati acting out revenge on the Catholic Church and Robert Langdon is there in the thick of it. For me, this work is a schoolboy thriller where you can usually guess what is coming next. Dan describes features in and around Rome and the Vatican City to give you something real to latch onto. Unfortunately this is where some readers appear to lose a sense of reality and confuse fact-based scene setting with secret societies and world conspiracies such as the Illuminati. For me, Dan has produced a light-hearted schoolboy yarn that provides hours of that style of entertainment. For any world conspiracy types you are not going to find an Illuminati calling card or uncover some startling new evidence to find they are alive and well. David Southwell and Sean Twist summed up the Bavarian Illuminati in their book Conspiracy Files: There is, when you get down to it, no real evidence whatsoever to suggest that the illuminati were anything other than a short lived Bavarian Society-just a lot of hearsay. If it had not been for the Illuminatus! Trilogy the Bavarian Illuminati would still be an obscure sect lost in the footnotes of history. If you did enjoy the Da Vinci Code, with its fast pace and action, then this might be the book for you. If you want a light-hearted read look no further.


Tales from Ancient Egypt
Tales from Ancient Egypt
by Joyce Tyldesley
Edition: Paperback

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That Book you just had to have…, 10 Jan. 2006
Joyce has written a similar book to this for younger readers titled ‘Stories from Ancient Egypt’ and that introduces junior Egyptologists to ancient Gods and Kings. That book plugged a gap in the market for a readable book that helped younger minds come to terms with concepts such as ‘how it all began’ and the battles between the main players such as Seth and Horus. The author has written this ‘adult version’ for those of us who need a little help better understanding the creation myth and other ancient tales.
The book has four main sections, Four Tales of Gods, Seven Tales of Men, Four True Stories and One Hymn. The key area for me was section one that includes the Creation of the World, the Destruction of Mankind, The Tale of Isis and Osiris and the Dispute of Horus and Seth. The author provides a no-nonsense commentary on the tales and helps you to understand the context of the story, the time period and the underlying messages.
Section two includes five magical Tales, The Shipwrecked Sailor, The Talkative Peasant, The Story of Sinuhe, The Doomed Prince, The Two Brothers and The Tales of Truth and Falsehood.
Section three has four true stories including the Adventures of Harkhuf, The Siege of Megiddo, The Battle of Kadesh and The Voyage of Wenamen. Several readers will be familiar with the Battle of Kadesh and Siege of Megiddo because they lodge in the mind as great military moments, however the other two stories are less familiar but intriguing.
The last tale, in fact a Hymn is the Great Hymn to the Aten. My only suggested improvement to this book is that I would have liked more commentary on the ‘Great Hymn to the Aten’. The Amarna period and just about everything associated with it is popular with several budding Egyptologists and I would put the ‘Great Hymn to the Aten’ as an aspect worthy of a touch more discussion.
I would recommend this book to anyone enthusiastic on ancient Egypt on the basis of section one alone, the creation of the world and associated myths.


Stories from Ancient Egypt: Egyptian Myths and Legends for Children
Stories from Ancient Egypt: Egyptian Myths and Legends for Children
by Joyce A. Tyldesley
Edition: Paperback

87 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A,B,C of Egyptian Myths, 10 Jan. 2006
I bought this book to introduce my children to some of the Egyptian Myths and put a few ghosts to bed. Unfortunately, some of the characters such as Osiris, Seth and Isis appear to have been hijacked by various computer games, trading cards and cartoon characters and the original ethos lost. The book is interactive and allows the younger Egyptologist to take on ownership by writing their name in Hieroglyphs within a Cartouche. This then leads the reader into a map of the ancient world where the Egyptian Empire was powerful and larger than most people realise. Joyce has done an excellent job of targeting the younger audience by selecting stories of interest, using words with kid-appeal and tailoring the tales to a manageable length. To reinforce the legends Joyce has provided questions and answers at the end of each story and this helps adults using the book for bed time story telling! The author has also selected to tell the story of the battle of Kadesh that is based on historical fact. Ramess II fought the Hittite army there and then appears to have put his spin doctors to work in providing a version of the battle for public consumption-no change there then!
Each epic has supporting illustrations by Julian Heath that helps to emphasise key points and introduce young minds to the 2-dimensional representations of a complex Egyptian World! There is an added bonus that the corners of the book have a scribe and a mummy that write and walk when the pages are flicked- a main talking point for children! I would recommend this book for any younger readers interested in Egyptology especially if they want to better understand the creation myth and the gods associated with it. Joyce has done her homework well in providing children with a book that can kick-start them into a fascinating world where Gods and Men shared the same land.


From Eden To Exile: The Epic History of the People of the Bible
From Eden To Exile: The Epic History of the People of the Bible
by David Rohl
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A question of timing..., 10 Jan. 2006
I met David Rohl at a presentation he was giving on a theme of linking the Bible to archeological finds and other supporting evidence. I was impressed by the quality and quantity of material David put forward and so I decided to take the plunge and read ‘From Eden to Exile’. The author puts forward the case for a lot of evidence to support the Bible; the skill is where to look and getting the chronology correct. The new proposed chronology starts in the Neolithic age (c.5375 BC) with Adam, a great flood at Ur around 3113 BC, and Babel tower-temple at Eridu (c.2800 BC). For those seeking the link with the Egyptians, Abraham meets Pharaoh Nebkaure Khety IV in 10th Dynasty and Joseph becomes vizier in 1666 BC in the court of Pharaoh Amenemhat III of the 12th Dynasty. Moses appears in the 13th Dynasty (c.1530 BC) adopted by queen of Pharaoh Khaneferre Sobekhotep IV and challenges Pharaoh Dudimose later in his life. Exodus, including a possible route taken is discussed in great detail. Saul, David and Solomon are tied into the reign of Akhenaten and the Amarna period (c. 1020-1000 BC) and later Pharaoh Horemheb. The few characters I have highlighted are covered in depth as are most of the other Biblical personalities. The writer puts forward a case for each person; who his contempories were, revised time period and supporting archeology. The book is awash with maps, satellite photographs, illustrations and black and white images of key supporting pieces of evidence. Please bear in mind the Bible has a lot of information to take in and this new chronology is packed with a similar amount. This book will have you thinking, analyzing, summarizing and concluding late into the wee small hours. As the reader you make your own decision whether the supporting evidence is strong enough for you to accept the new chronology. Anyone studying Egyptology would find this book interesting because it challenges conventional ideas and proposes fresh interpretation of existing records. I have recommended this book to several people keen on ancient Egypt and all have been delighted. Any Bible scholar would probably find evidence to support the Bible but might be disappointed by the assessment of the main players, personalities and actions. If you have any interests in this area why not read the book and make your own judgement.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 29, 2011 11:54 PM BST


Discovering Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Practical Guide
Discovering Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Practical Guide
by Karl-Theodor Zauzich
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.38

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hieroglyphs for the museum learner, 10 Jan. 2006
Discovering Egyptian Hieroglyphs lives up to its subtitle of ‘a practical guide’. This work is a slim 121-pages and my immediate impression is that you should be able to work your way through it if you have previously made an attempt at translating. I would not class this as a starter-book for the first-timer but anyone who has had a go with hieroglyphs would find it beneficial. You could use this book as a dry run prior to any planned trips to the Cairo Museum or other establishments with Egyptian exhibits.
The point I would like to make clear is learning the basics of translation can seem quite daunting and intimidating but it is obviously possible. People fascinated by ancient Egypt teach themselves to read Hieroglyphs; some learn a little some learn a lot. Working your way through grammar and conjugating verbs is definitely challenging but feels rewarding once you get the hang of it. However, from experience, pulling it all together in a museum is where I found it all went out of the window. This little book is just the trick to help you. Working almost on a ‘need to know basis’ the key pieces of the jigsaw are brought together. In some respects, this book shouts the links that several other books fail to emphasise enough.
Chapters one and two cover the need to know material with a focus on ‘key phrases’ that you will see repeated. These sections are rather like a “Get by in Hieroglyphs” honing you for your big challenge of part 3. Biliteral signs, trilateral signs, ideograms, determinatives and other grammatical challenges are there, but only enough to help you to get to grips with the main themes.
Section three of the book is where it is all pulled together and twelve inscriptions are decoded. The twelve inscriptions are based on specimens primarily based in the Berlin, Munich and Cairo museums. The pieces to translate are; an Architrave of Sahure, a glazed tile from the Palace of Ramesses II at Qantir, Lintel from a Palace or Temple of Ramesses II, Fragment of a Tomb Wall, a Wooden Box from the Treasures of Tutankhamun, Tutankhamuns’s Alabaster Chest, The Alabaster Cup of Tutankhamun, a Conopic Coffin of Tutankhamun, The Canopic Chest of Tutankhamun, Vignette from the book of the Dead, The False Door of Khut-en-Ptah and The Tomb Stela of Tashep-Khonsu. Photographs and sketches of the inscriptions provide work pieces for the reader to translate. Full detailed explanations of the translations are given and with a bit of repetition the key phrases become anchored in your mind. For the enthusiast who is planning to visit these institutions they immediately have the satisfaction of encountering the artefact face to face and getting the buzz of reading the ancient words. The obvious downside to getting this maximum benefit is you need to travel if UK based like me.
I have certainly benefited from using the book and would recommend it to anyone who needs their confidence boosting by focusing on key phrases. This simple technique of focussing on and anchoring the keys in your mind helps you unlock the associated phrases surrounding them. For those of you, who gave up trying to learn because the book you were using did not suit you, try this one.
For those wishing to start from scratch I would strongly recommend Philip Ardagh’s ‘The Hieroglyphs Handbook-Teach yourself Ancient Egyptian.’ This book is aimed at the younger reader but teaches the basics and helps build your confidence.
A book on a similar theme to Karl-Theodor’s, but based on exhibits in the British Museum is ‘How to read Egyptian Hieroglyphs’ by Mark Collier and Bill Manley. For anyone based in the UK the obvious advantage is after working through the book you can go and read the inscriptions in a place a touch nearer to home. I would also recommend this book because it is comprehensive.


Egypt's Golden Empire: The Dramatic Story of Life in the New Kingdom
Egypt's Golden Empire: The Dramatic Story of Life in the New Kingdom
by Joyce Tyldesley
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Years-if only we had a time machine, 21 Dec. 2005
I met Joyce Tyldesley and her partner Steven Snape at a one day seminar they were giving on Ramesses II. Their presentation was excellent and during a break I had chance for a chat and enquire about books. Joyce wrote a book based on a Lion Television series (in association with PBS and Devillier Donegan Enterprises) ‘Egypt’s Golden Empire’ and uses the same title for her book. The series was aired by BBC2 as a documentary on three consecutive Sundays, 4-18 November 2001 and is now available as DVD/Video and there is a website [...] I thoroughly enjoyed the broadcasts especially because they focussed on one of my favourite periods, the New Kingdom, littered with characters we have all heard of before, such as: Nefertiti, Tutankhamen and Ramesses the Great. I would put Joyce’s book into the category of easy reading because it is pitched for a broad audience and would be ideal for anyone discovering this period for the first time. The book provides a guideline chronology of the late 17th Dynasty through to and including 20th Dynasty complete with probable Pharaoh and reign length. There is a map of the region to set the scene, supported by excellent colour photographs courtesy of Lion Television, Steven Snape and The Egyptian Museum Cairo. The book starts in Thebes, 1560BC, The Second Intermediate Period with king Sekenenre and ends with Rameses III. The main body of the book comprises of 286-pages spread over 15-chapters. This equates to small chunks of approximately 19-pages per chapter, relatively easy to absorb. The pharaohs explored most are Ahmose, Hatshepsut, Tuthmosis, Amenhotep III, Akhenaten, Tutankhamen, Horemheb, Ramesses II and Ramesses III. The content of the chapters is light so all in all the book is easy to digest. The author links the Pharaohs, archaeology associated with the period through to the modern day Egyptologist discovering them. Joyce reflects on the modern day interpretation of the finds and helps to paint a series of sketches of what life may have been like during this fascinating time-span. This series of snapshots of everyday life of the commoner right through to Pharaoh provides something memorable to latch onto. The book is excellent as a stand alone piece of work; I would thoroughly recommend it and advise seeking out the 3-part documentary for maximum enjoyment.


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