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on 11 November 2012
This is an excellent resume of the whole of Ancient Egyptian history. Despite some of the negative reviews it is not boring, merely very thorough.
The style is variable because Ian Shaw has brought together different 'experts' to tell the history and some writers have a easier narrative style than others. It is more than a reference book because it does read as a story, but only just!
Its value lies in the comprehensive way it allows you to fit all the disparate bits of Egyptian history picked up from, school, casual reading the TV etc into a framework. Yes its is dry in places, but that's only because it is thorough.

Buy this book if you want to get Egyptian history straightened out in your mind. Use it as a reference work to look up which part of the 5000 odd years of interlocking stories is being mentioned elsewhere.
Don't buy this if you want a romance of ancient history.

Kindle readers (like myself) will be annoyed at the poor resolution of the maps, even when read on PC. The maps are almost essential at some points and unless you have access to historical atlas you will/may struggle at times.
It really is a shame that Amazon does not operate some form of quality control. It has the economic clout to tell e-publishers to get their act together!

This last should not prevent you from buying the book, even for Kindle, because I have not found another text to come even close to the usefulness of this work.
20 people found this helpful
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on 3 January 2015
I cannot comment on the content of this book as it was ordered for my son as part of his A/S archaeology course, but I just wanted potential readers to be aware of the incredibly small print! It is very, very much smaller than usual print, even in text books, and not broken up by images or very many headings or paragraphs. Older readers in particular may struggle to read this print (it is even a struggle for me with prescription reading glasses on and I am in my forties.) My 16 year old son groaned when he saw the print and he is usually an avid reader of such books.
5 people found this helpful
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on 24 July 2017
I'm currently studying for an undergraduate degree in Egyptology and this book is perfect for covering both the basics and the more complex points. The chapters provide both a brief overview and a more in depth analysis of evidence, which is perfect for beginners and for those who are more familiar with the content. It covers a massive span of history, from pre-dynastic Egypt to Egypt as a province in the Roman Empire and regardless of this span, chapters remain detailed and thorough, yet are easy to follow. This is a perfect go to book for Egyptology, especially while studying it at an undergraduate level.
One person found this helpful
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on 18 August 2014
Although there is much to learn from this book, the use of several authors makes it (inevitably) a very inconsistent read. While some write lucidly and evocatively about this fascinating subject, others are too prone to descending into arcane, archaeological jibberish. Referring to coded layers does little to enlighten the general reader, and the first chapter on Prehistory is rendered virtually unintelligble by the author's inability to stand back from the detail and summarise the conclusions that can be drawn for the period as a whole. What was needed here was a single voice with a rational, coherent but engrossing style who could really inspire the readership as well as convey a sound knowledge of the subject. Ian Shaw's chapter was so good, perhaps he should have written all of it.
One person found this helpful
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on 2 June 2018
Essential resouce reading for academics..historians..archaeologists students of ancient history and archaeology..Well worth the purchase..
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on 28 December 2014
I bought this book when planning for a Nile cruise and wanted to know what I was seeing. It covers a large swathe of Egyptian history and I felt I really benefitted when seeing the temples by knowing a bit about the kings that created them. Each chapter has a different author which gives a number of viewpoints which cross refer which is good but doesn't create a narrative flow.
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on 22 April 2012
I bought this book for my 16 year old daughter, who is mad about all things Egyptian (!). However, the book is really geared towards a higher education level. That said, I am sure she will be picking it up within a year or so when her A-levels are done.
It's packed with lots of dates, intricate information and text.
I would say is definitely aimed at Degree-level students.
2 people found this helpful
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on 13 April 2017
Great read!
One person found this helpful
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on 3 July 2017
Excellent compilation of essays covering Egypt from Predynastic times up to the Roman era. If you only buy one book on Ancient Egypt, buy this one.
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on 8 October 2017
Item arrived today in brilliant condition and after looking through it, it seems to contain a lot of information covering what I was looking for and much more.
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