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This review is from: Gateway of the Gods: The Rise and Fall of Babylon (Hardcover)
Beginning with a general history of Mesopotamia, Gateway Of The Gods focuses on Babylon's `golden age' under such famous kings as Nabopolassar, Nebuchadrezzar The Great and Nabonidus, principally being concerned with aspects of life such as art, science, literature & business. A shorter section concludes by outlining what came next, including its modern rediscovery. It is sumptuously presented in a modern style on glossy paper with many large-scale illustrations, sidebars and panels giving greater detail of specific subjects than otherwise during the main body of text.
Gill is a jobbing author rather than academic historian, but he has done an excellent job to bring Babylon to life. Most bases are covered in just enough detail to give an excellent flavour of his subject without swamping an unwary reader with too much extraneous detail. All major figures and topics are introduced in logical sequence. His bibliography is short but tellingly includes most of the important books I would expect to see there, which is a good sign.
I could have done with Gateway Of The Gods when I first took an interest in the Ancient Near East more than 30 years ago. Instead, my introduction came via George Roux's Ancient Iraq (Penguin History) which remains probably the best overall book for non-academics, yet its dense text-book style is not easy for a new reader to get to grips with. Gateway Of The Gods may be seen as yet another glossy "coffee table" overview, but it is a superior one that can be purchased with confidence.