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Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs
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Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  96 ratings  ·  38 reviews
The world has always been fascinated with ancient Egypt. When the Romans conquered Egypt, it was really Egypt that conquered the Romans. Cleopatra captivated both Caesar and Marc Antony and soon Roman ladies were worshipping Isis and wearing vials of Nile water around their necks. What is it about ancient Egypt that breeds such obsession and imitation? Egyptomania explores ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 12th 2013 by Palgrave Macmillan Trade
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I’ve been looking forward to reading this one ever since Amazon showed it to me in one of their “we know you so well we can shop for you” ads! Of course, this was months and months ago, and it hadn’t actually been published yet, but the kids and I had recently finished Bob Brier’s Great Courses “History of Ancient Egypt,” and I had been delighted by Mr. Brier’s great enthusiasm for his subject. In Egyptomania, that enthusiasm is still going strong!
This is a fun book about the mania for things E
Since he was a child, archaeologist Bob Bier was a collector. He collected stamps and baseball cards, but the focus was more on organizing his collections than on the objects themselves. With his research on Egypt, there was an obvious focus for collecting as an adult, but there is a problem: it is no longer acceptable for an archaeologist to collect artifacts, hasn't been for decades. But he and his spouse found an alternative: collecting stuff showing the interest western culture has had in an ...more
Stuart Hill
I won a copy of this book from the First Reads giveaways programme.

It was an enjoyable read which covers the history of enthusiasm for Ancient Egypt from the Romans right up to the present day. The high quality illustrations, some in colour, add to the appeal of the book.

Brier's obvious enthusiasm for the subject comes across to the reader, but I found that his approach to it was somewhat selective. There are some large gaps such as between Ancient Rome and the Renaissance which leave you wonder
2.5 stars

I really enjoyed Brier's enthusiasm but overall I was disappointed in the book. I appreciated learning about the plethora of Egypt-themed items on the market previously and now. The amount of advertising using Ancient Egyptian themes is pretty incredible, although this was largely many years ago. Overall I understood Brier's interest in collecting the various items but it really just brought attention to the fact that my love of Ancient Egypt has everything to do with the actual history
I thought this book would mostly be about Ancient Egypt in pop culture, tracing how "Egyptomania" has manifested itself in different time periods to reflect people's changing interests and concerns. And the last part of the book, which talks about various movies, is close to what I expected. But the vast majority of the book is about the engineering required to move ancient obelisks from Egypt to various locations around the world. And in those sections Brier barely touches on "Egyptomania" othe ...more
Daniel Kukwa
It looked promising, but I found it ultimately unsatisfying. The enthusiasm is real, and the chronological approach is solid, but it's a book that spends far too much time on items that I don't feel deserve so much detail (I became exceptionally sick of reading about taking down and putting up obelisks). On the other hand, it will spend a lot of time examining Universal's "Mummy" movie in detail...then ignore the cultural impact of movies such as "The Ten Commandments" and "Cleopatra" with throw ...more
Rebecca Huston
This was a great read on ancient Egypt and how it has influenced our world from the Greeks and Romans all the way up to today. There's some snarky comments, some great history, lots of coincidences that I had never heard of before, and a fun ride. It's a short book, just over two hundred pages long, and very entertaining. There are lavish illustrations as well. Four stars overall, and a recommendation.

For the longer review, please go here:
John Gaudet
Our fascination with ancient Egypt pops up in the strangest places, souvenirs, films, plays, operas, candy, cigarettes, ashtrays, cigar boxes and most spectacular of all the Egyptian obelisks that transformed Place de la Concorde, and provide panache to special places in Central Park and the Thames Embankment. Bob Brier tells us all the secrets involved in the evolution of this craziness and provides some great color photos of the range of decorations.

Egyptomania rises again and again in history
Like many, I've been fascinated by Egypt for as long as I can remember. I, however, can't compete with the women of the 20s who wore mummy necklaces and used Egyptian talc.

This was a quick and easy read, taking readers through an interesting history of the world's obsession with Egypt. Lots of fun facts and stories - it helps that it's written by Bob Brier, who might literally know everything there is to possibly know about ancient Egypt at this time.

A note about the obelisks that so many seemed
Bob Brier is, for better or for worse, arguably the most well known popular Egyptologist in America. I've always enjoyed his enthusiasm and wit, and am more than willing to forgive his oversimplifications or professional biases. I went into this looking for a work on the fascinating world of Egyptian themed and influenced products and collectables. This book doesn't disappoint. Certainly I might have made some different choices in focus (the 20th century is woefully underrepresented, and while I ...more
Carmen Tudor
Very interesting take on society's obsession with all things Egypt. Of particular interest is the author's obsession with amassing weird and wacky Egypt-themed items and collectables. Great detail is given to the entitled selection of four ancient obelisks by Italy, France, England and the US, and the subsequent transportation and erection of those national treasures by their new owners. The book has a nice, readable tone and a genuine voice from the author.
Rick Rapp
This book explores our fascination with all things Egyptian. It touches on the bankrupt Egypt's need for cash which influenced its decision to part with so many obelisks (as well as the danger and technology associated with those moves). There are many color plates featuring all sorts of Egyptobilia…sheet music, cigarette cases, watches, pocket knives… I found it an easy read and well-organized. It contains several good pieces of information and for anyone interested in Egypt, I would recommend ...more
I thought this was going to be more along the lines of "treasures of Egypt" but this was about everything that spun off the world's obsession with Egypt. Still a good read. From very detailed description of moving obelisks from Egypt to other countries, all the way to sheet music that inaccurate but Egyptian-themed lyrics. This book gives a very brief overview of the fascination Egypt inspires all around the world and in different generations.
Susan Paxton
Pretty minor Bob Brier, but fun nonetheless. As well as being an Egyptologist of great renown, Brier is an enthusiastic collector of popular culture items related to his work. Egyptomania started with Herodotus and continues to this day; Brier describes in great and interesting detail the moving of obelisks, the creation of tacky souvenirs, the bizarre attachment of Egyptian themes to everything from sheet music to tobacco products to pens. Well illustrated with black and white and color plates.
Very interesting history of how people are so fascinated with ancient Egypt and all of the crazy things they have done because of that, from moving obelisks to making fancy pencil necklaces that look like mummies! Well-writted and entertaining while still very informative, from someone who is very knowledgeable.
I enjoyed most of this very enthusiastic romp through the Western worlds fascination with all thing Ancient Egyptian, though it did start to drag a little towards the last chapter. Definitely worth reading - the story of how Cleopatra's Needle came to be on the Embankment in London was worthy of an Indiana Jones film! and the shameless manufacturing of anything new that could be advertised with Ancient Egypt in mind was funny but proves there's nothing new under the sun!
Robin Rivers
I'm a big fan of Dr. Bob Brier and his work along with the history of Egypt as a whole. But, while this book had some interesting bits and lots of kitsch, I just couldn't get through it.

Had to abandon it for something a bit more substantial. It's fun to thumb through. But, not much in the way of revealing anything significant about ancient Egypt.
More a history of (pseudo)Egyptian kitsch than it is any real history of the Western world's fascination with Egypt. Didn't expect Said, but a little critical discussion of the portrayal of Egypt would have been interesting. Some great tidbits nonetheless. A breezy and mostly entertaining read.
A look at the craze for all things Ancient Egyptian form a serious collector and Egyptologist. Fun, light read. Some very interesting stuff, some not so much. But a must read for the die-hard Ancient Egypt buff.
Covers the fascination the world has for ancient egypt. Discusses cigarettes, movies, music, books and collections as well as transported obelisks.
Haripriya Ramakrishnan
liked it very much! But really, there was too much description of the moving of the obelisks...sure it is a very monumental feat, but in this book, was writing it out that much really necessary?
Cheryl Carpinello
An intriguing read about the fascination the world has with Ancient Egypt. Brier's knowledge of artifacts adds interesting tidbits to the book. The color plates are also beautifully done. Introduced me to "Description de L'Egypte" which contains the drawings done by Napoleon's savants when he invaded Egypt. The in-depth descriptions of the moving of the obelisks to France, England, and the US really slowed down my reading and enjoyment of this book. Overall, I would recommend it.
Excellent! If you are a fan of Egyptology, this is the book for you. I'm looking forward to listening to the author's lectures and reading other titles.
It takes a special person to perfectly capture his or her passion for history and transfer it to the written page without losing the wonder, joy, and interest. Brier made the history of Egyptology engaging, energetic, and mesmerizing.
Vernon Area Public Library
If you have any interest in history you will enjoy this story of western civilization's response through the ages to ancient Egyptian culture. Brier spins a series of entertaining tales, from surprisingly suspenseful accounts of obelisk-moving to amusing commentary on Tin-Pan Alley King Tut songs. Plentiful color photos of objects from Brier's own collection of Egyptomania add to the enjoyment. [Adult New Books/Nonfiction/932.0072/BRI]
Reviewed by Tom Sievers, Adult Services Librarian
Paul Groffie
A very fun read from Bob Brier! I was excited to see way the book would approach the topic and was not disappointed. Very easy read and wonderful pictures! His stories were little known to myself - especially the obelisk stories which were fascinating!! I always enjoy Bob's work and this does not disappoint. Egyptian history in a fun format!! Thank you Bob!!
Rob Roy
This book is not about ancient Egypt, but rather, the world’s love affair with ancient Egypt. The author talks about ancient visitors, then those of the past several hundred years starting with Napoleon. While he spends a lot of time on the engineering of the transport of obelisks, the real fascinating parts are about the more mundane “Egyptian” souvenirs from cigarette boxes to movies. This is a short and fun read.
If you have any interest in history you will enjoy this story of western civilization's response through the ages to ancient Egyptian culture. Brier spins a series of entertaining tales, from surprisingly suspenseful accounts of obelisk-moving to amusing commentary on Tin-Pan Alley King Tut songs. Plentiful color photos of objects from Brier's own collection of Egyptomania add to the enjoyment.
A slow read, but not a dull one! There's just a lot of info that you don't want to speed-read over. Most of the book seems to focus on the Obelisks (or 'needles' if your more familiar with that term) then anything. Not that it's bad, a lot of Egypt-omania in people is focused around those monuments and how they were moved around. Quite an interesting read I think.
Jennifer Kunz
This was a great, well-written, book. I loved it. Want to read his others!
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Robert Brier (born December 13, 1943), also known as Mr. Mummy, is an American Egyptologist specializing in paleopathology. A Senior Research Fellow at Long Island University/LIU Post, he has researched and published on mummies and the mummification process and has appeared in many Discovery Civilization documentaries, primarily on ancient Egypt.
Born and raised in The Bronx, New York, Brier earned
More about Bob Brier...
The Murder of Tutankhamen The History Of Ancient Egypt (Great Courses, #350) The Secret of the Great Pyramid: How One Man's Obsession Led to the Solution of Ancient Egypt's Greatest Mystery Egyptian Mummies: Unraveling the Secrets of an Ancient Art Ancient Egyptian Magic

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