- Paperback: 500 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Press; 1 edition (12 February 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141399724
- ISBN-13: 978-0141399720
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3 x 19.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 481 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A History of Ancient Egypt, Volume 2: From the Great Pyramid to the Fall of the Middle Kingdom Paperback – 12 Feb 2018
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Evocative and passionate ... [Romer] has a command of material and of language that makes this a fascinating tale ... Magisterial (Anthony Sattin Spectator)
The definitive, multi-volume history of the world's first known state.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 9 reviews
Five Stars8 March 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
Romer offers a magisterial re-examination of everything we thought we knew about ancient Egypt, starting here with the Old Kingdom and ending with the Middle Kingdom. Essentially, the study of egyptology, emerging in an era of Western imperialism, projected onto these mysterious and enigmatic people a modern sensibility, largely ignoring or misunderstanding the evidence "on the ground," in Romer's words. Here he advises us on fairly and objectively approaching a true modicum of understanding, while admitting the large gaps in evidence and the ultimate fact that we can never truly know this magnetic culture in their true context. A touching section showed the warmth pharaoh Neferirkare showed toward his servants and courtiers, inscriptions that stressed pharaoh's helplessness in the face of his courtier collapsing and dying. Rather than being interpreted and perpetuated as a fascistic, brutal, savage race, Egypt, Romer compellingly offers, was so much more. Unfathomable in many ways but also luminous, complex, yet every bit as human as us. Excellent second volume following an equally excellent first volume. Highly recommended.
14 people found this helpful
When you finish, you'll know less than you did before.16 February 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
Reading this book, I was soon reminded of an album of decades past, by the Firesign Theater entitled "Everything You Know is Wrong". And that, indeed, is how one feels early on, reading this book. As with his first volume of the history of ancient Egypt, John Romer discards all the supposition and conjecture that has tainted the study of this ancient culture for 200 years. His history is entirely objective, built on the discoveries of archeology, and not created by the imaginings of scholars past who viewed the history of this land through the lens of western civilization--and later western civilization at that. That this leaves us "knowing" less, is true. But it puts what we "know" on a surer foundation. Better to know less, but to be reasonably sure of that bit. (With a culture so far removed from us in time, especially, nothing can ever be certain.) To me, this kind of history is a breath of fresh air. "Land of the Pharaohs" is an entertaining fiction. "The Egyptian" a myth. We "know" none of the stuff upon which these tales are built. This is sad, in a way: as a passionate devotee of all things Egyptian, I wish, I want, I long for the full understanding of this people. So have many. But that understanding is, has been and likely always will be impossible. There is just too much time between us and them. Nevertheless, I eagerly devour every morsel, and this book, despite discarding so much of what has been imagined, is filled with good, solid "meat". A completely satisfying study. I have but one comment which might be perceived as negative, but is not intended to be. Much of this book is filled, not with the history of ancient Egypt, but with the history of the STUDY of ancient Egypt, and how what we "know" has undergone change after change. Dare I use the over-used term "paradigm shift"? If you enjoy a scholarly study, you will enjoy this book. The text indicates that writing it, the author has decided, perforce, that a third volume will now be necessitated due to the numerous discoveries of recent years. I eagerly await that.
21 people found this helpful
More from the Master29 June 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
Dr. Romer does it again with Volume 2. After perhaps a wandering mural-painting exercise in describing Egypt's diverse beginnings in Volume 1, the author bores in on how all this led to the fall of the Old Kingdom and the rise of the middle one in the current Volume. In so doing he points out a great many details about that process that I did not previously know -- and I've been reading about the subject since the sixties. Archaeology is alive and well in Egypt, despite political upheavals, and what is known (rather than imagined) about those murky times continues to expand. Romer is a master portaitist of those times. He has spent a lifetime improving on his craft, with many previous works and hopefully his greatest work to come. To me there is no contemporary who can hold a candle to him. However some might find his wordiness - which I consider an aspect of his scholarly Englishness - hard to swallow. He is a serious scholar who comes off best to the serious reader and serious fan of Ancient Egypt.
2 people found this helpful
Inconsistent size for some reason?21 September 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
Nice books, haven't had a chance to read all the way through yet– but the ONLY complaint I have (and it's really silly, I know) is that the SIZE of the actual physical books are inconsistent in the series. So strange. I can't put together why the publishers have one book that is roughly 6-7 inches tall, and then Volume 2 is like two millimeters taller than the other book when placed on the shelf. So weird– it bothers me!
3 people found this helpful
Shines at the end, but very readable anyway16 October 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
I have just read this as a follow-on from volume one, and my comments from volume one still apply: inconsistent use of maps; lack of colour photographs, etc, to which I would also add, inconsistent spelling of ancient site names. I think the gaps in the maps jar more in this volume too. There are many references to Punt, with no speculation as to where it might be, but modern Puntland in the horn of Africa is accessible down the Red Sea, and may perhaps be the same place. But what most struck me in this volume was the epilogue, where the heights of artistic prowess of the last major dynasty before the second interregnum really stood out. The lyrical description of Princess Knumet's tiara was wonderful, but why the drawing? Couldn't a photograph have been used? The object is in the museum in Cairo, and photographs are available. From the internet, I saw that there were many other beautiful pieces too, none of which are mentioned in the book. This was followed by a realisation that at that interregnum there were still more than 1500 years of history until the Roman invasion, so more books must be coming. At least, in spite of my grumbles, I hope they are.