In the Valley of the Kings: Howard Carter and the Mystery of King Tutankhamun's Tomb
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In the Valley of the Kings: Howard Carter and the Mystery of King Tutankhamun's Tomb

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  177 ratings  ·  34 reviews
In 1922, the British archaeologist Henry Carter opened King Tutankhamun’s tomb, illuminating the glories of an ancient civilization. And while the world celebrated the extraordinary revelation that gave Carter international renown and an indelible place in history, by the time of his death, the discovery had nearly destroyed him. Now, in a stunning feat of narrative nonfic...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 19th 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Veeral
Howard Carter and the mystery of King Tutankhamun's Tomb! Sounds exciting, right? But Daniel Meyerson went ahead and achieved the impossible here. I should say he did an “Ang Lee". Oscar nominated Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was sure an achievement. But I felt it was... boring. An impossible feat to achieve for a Martial Arts movie! (Am I going to lose some friendship points by saying that?)

Meyerson did the same here. His research is good, but the writing is not up to par for such an interest...more
Converse
The book is mainly about Howard Carter's career before the moment he entered King tutankhaman's tomb in 1923. Carter was the son of a man who climbed out of the rural English working class due to his artistic ability; he made a living painting animals. Howard Carter looked to be following his dad's footsteps before a chance, immediate need for a low-wage artist in Egypt intervened (his employer at the time was a gentleman with an amateur interest in Egyptology who owned some artifacts).
Carter...more
FunkyPlaid
I checked out this book from the S.F. Public Library after a trip to the anemic Tutankhamun exhibition at the De Young Museum this summer, the former being something quite out of character for me as I normally am a book purchaser rather than a book borrower. Both my fiancée and I were keenly interested in learning more about the Carter expedition in the Valley of the Kings after feeling like we'd both been let down by the museum's lack of background information within the exhibit. As it turns ou...more
Amy
A fascinating book that reads like fiction. Colorful characters, intrigue, suspense, humor...this is no academic read, thank goodness. Meyerson casts an unsparing light on Carter, yet seems genuinely fond of him, warts and all. It's a much more balanced view compared to other books I've read on this subject.
Karen
The moment of discovery of King Tut's tomb really captured my imagination when we saw the King Tut exhibit a few years ago. This book chronicles the history of Carter, the discoveries of other tombs, and the discovery of that of King Tut in a very readable fashion.
Jayme
In depth and intriguing account of Howard Carter and his experiences and finds prior to his discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb. Gives an inciting and glorious account of Carter's work in Thebes, Queen Hatshepsut's Mortuary Temple, Amarna and Akhenaten, and multiple tombs of The Valley. I recommend this book highly. "The era that had begun in the early 1800s with adventurers of every imaginable sort…the study of Egypt's had has since become more specialized…but who knows? There is no ruling out...more
Brittany Herd

This is my book review for my sophomore World History class. Anyone care to read and give me their insights on the writing and what grade I deserved? I'd truly appreciate it. Thanks, Brittany.

In the Valley of the Kings by Daniel Meyerson describes the tale of Howard Carter and his journeys to uncovering ancient royal burial tombs including that of King Tutankhamun. The author takes the reader through the ups and downs, the struggles and easy goings from the very start of his career to the poi...more
Ed
Jul 22, 2009 Ed rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
EXCELLENT!! OMG!! I [heart:] this book!!
Seriously, though, it was a good book, and a good read. The title and subtitle are somewhat misleading; you may think the book is going one place. But you start reading and Howard Carter is a tyke or a teen...WTF? Wasn't he like a respected archaeologist digging in the sands of Egypt and taking tea with Agatha Christie characters. Eventually he grew into the person who could discover a tomb. I was surprised, you may be too, to discover Carter's road to suc...more
Linkpead
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I must qualify any recommendation however.

If you've a liking for and familiarity with Ancient Egypt then this book should be right up your alley. Some may dislike what they consider tangential subjects (c'mon get to King Tut already), but I found exploration into the personalities and politics very intriguing. Like an excavation in reverse those forays lay a solid foundation for understanding the dynamics of that time period.

Anticlimactic? Well since the end is al...more
Seaver
While not nearly as dense as "Finding the Walls of Troy", "In the Valley of the Kings" assumes that the reader is already thoroughly familiar with Egyptology. For example, early in the book, Meyerson quips, "... can one think of the American millionaire Theodore Davis apart from the young Cambridge scholar Edward Ayrton?"

Fortunately, this book is more a biography of Howard Carter than a study of his archaeological discoveries. In fact, the book ends with his most famous discovery, and even most...more
Jerry Smith
Quite a short book and nothing wrong with that, but it was surprisingly lacking in interesting prose. It is a little disjointed in its delivery - basically chronological but there is much foreshadowing of what is to come.

Of course we know that Carter found the tomb of Tutankhamum so there is no secret there, but the final story of the unearthing of the tomb itself comes right at the end of the book and nothing really follows it in terms of his life afterward. I guess that is OK since the title...more
Andy
In this brief but rather meandering biography of Howard Carter, Daniel Meyerson describes Carter’s difficult journey in Egypt—from indentured art copyist to world famous discoverer of King Tutankhamen’s tomb. It’s easy to forget that leading up to that fateful exchange—Lord Carnarvon: “Can you see anything?” Carter: “Yes, wonderful things”—Carter had been digging holes in the desert, without much to show for it, for almost a quarter of a century.

And in the end, the discovery wasn’t a brilliant s...more
Sarah
Meyerson states that the true curse of the tomb was that Carter didn't die immediately after opening the tomb. That is unfortunately a very accurate statement. This book may be short but it gives a good insight into the man behind the find his personality and his tragedy. Howard Carter is one of those men that you love to read about and would hate to know. This book is sympathetic but blunt about his psychology and gives a very good understanding of his life up to the tomb and the political clim...more
Jessica
This wasn't exactly what I thought it would be, but it was still worth reading. Meyerson did extensive research and followed Carter from his teenage years until he discovered Tut's tomb in 1922. He became obsessed with the Valley of the Kings, and it consumed his entire life. Political squabbles affected his digs, first between France and Britain and then Egypt during its revolutionary period after Tut's tomb was finally excavated. It's interesting to see what Egyptology entailed during the late...more
Joanna Mieso
This caught my eye in the library and I just started reading it today - it is fascinating.

It is an easy read, and lots of background on excavations and "grave-robbing" by British, American, French, Italians, etc. before the actual find of King Tut's tomb.

I've always wanted to do a Nile cruise and as a travel agent I had several opportunities to go but something always got in the way - the last time I was all set to go and Desert Storm happened, so I thought, ok, something or somebody REALLY does...more
Tiffany
Short and pithy, rather like "The Linguist and the Emperor," Meyerson's take on the discovery of Tut's tomb is a fairly standard history. Meyerson does a nice job of sketching in some local color (especially if you've been to the locales), but the strength of this book is really the clever prose. I thought the book became a bit too editorial toward the end, but in general this is a quick, well-written sketch of one of the great events in archaeology. If you're having trouble getting through Cart...more
Josh Roberts
My fascination with King Tut and his curse aside, this book is written about as unapproachable as possible. Assumes you know everything being written about, and the writer goes off on tangents only loosely tied to the story at hand.
Shane
This book was just okay. To its credit, it did end well, but the bulk of the story was too wandering for me. For a non-fiction book, I expected it to be chronological, but I felt the narrative jumped around too much. Throughout, we kept getting these little comments and details about Carter finding Tut's tomb, but without ever really actually telling that story until the very end, and then very quickly. Perhaps another notch against it was while it did do well describing the people involved, it...more
Kelly A
More about Carter the man, less about Egyptology and his discoveries. Not bad, but not what I expected.
Adam
Okay book. The author tends to speak to the reader in first-person narrative and break the flow of his writing a fairly often. Also, the book doesn't really cover the most interesting aspect of the discovery of Tut's tomb -- the actual discovery, excavation, and the supposed curse of the team members afterwards. Instead, this book summarizes the 20 or so years leading up to the discovery, then deals with the discovery, excavation, and post-excavation in a chapter. Somewhat of a let down, but sti...more
Adrian
Jan 13, 2010 Adrian added it
In 200 pages here is the story of Howard Carter's unearthing of Tut, that started with his education under the tutelage of the nutty/brilliant Flinders Petrie and culminates with success under Carnarvon's patronage. The scale of digging done in excruciating heat pretty much precludes anyone but the obsessed took part. Meyerson doesn't go as far in accusing Carter of games in finding the tomb that others have. It's an exciting read.
Bou
This book is a highly romanticized version of the life of Carter BEFORE the discovery of King Tut's tomb. If you're looking for a detailed account of the discovery of King Tut's tomb, this is not the right book for you.

Having said that, I enjoyed the style of the writer, it is a enjoyable read and it gives a good overview of the mood and atmosphere the various excavators were operating at that time.
Lindsay Baumeister
A steady account of the journey Howard Carter took to where he ended up. I felt disappointed as there was so much of a lead up to him discovering it and then it felt a bit like "he found it, the end" I would have liked a bit more detail and it left me feeling disappointed with the book overall even though I had enjoyed it up to that point.
Foggygirl
I have always had a facination about egyptology in general and ancient Egyptian culture in particular. This book was a facinating and somewhat aggravating read about the early years of European exploration in Egypt and how rich clueless aristocrats stomped all over these truly unique sites in their quest for fame and "immortality".
Meg
While the descriptions are good, and the characters really come to life, the book skips around so much that it is hard to become really involved in the story. I also wish that more had been included regarding the actual discoveries in the tomb. Instead, there is great lead-up, but the actual discovery falls flat.
moshimoshineko
3.5 stars, actually.

I thought this would talk more about the actual discovering of the tomb, but it was more like a telling of the events in Howard Carter's life leading up to Tutankhamon.
John
Well, I learned a lot from it, but it was hardly about Tutankhamun's tomb, more about Carter and his relationships with others. Almost half-a-book, could have been meatier.
Enrique Cedillo
If you,re interested in ancient Egypt, hyerogliphics and the way Champollion unmasked their secrets, you'll love this book.
Probibliophile
Carter was a very interesting person and Myerson writes very well. I will keep a look out for his other books.
George Ilsley
Mildly interesting, but does not add anything to the topic. Just summarizes and rehashes the work of others.
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