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

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  269 Ratings  ·  45 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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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
Sep 09, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 15, 2009 FunkyPlaid rated it it was ok
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
Jun 07, 2010 Converse rated it liked it
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).
Jul 11, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 05, 2010 Brittany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

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
Rob Roy
Nov 11, 2016 Rob Roy rated it liked it
A biography of Howard Carter and his obsession with the Valley of the Kings. Wonderful tidbits of information, and character defining moments wrapped in turgid prose. Excellent research, poor writing skills sum up this volume. If you are an ancient Egyptian enthusiast (I am), the do read this biography, but if you only have a cursory interest, search out other books on the subject. In fact, I recommend the book that Howard Carter authored himself.
Scott Johnson
Jan 14, 2017 Scott Johnson rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, history
A little disorganized and disjointed at times, but if you're able to follow the time jumps and changing perspective, it's great. My one disappointment was that when the actual tomb is found, the book ends rather abruptly. There's just a bit of summary of the subsequent death and controversy, and then that's it.
Jul 22, 2009 Ed rated it liked it
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
May 29, 2014 Jayme rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 08, 2013 Linkpead rated it really liked it
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
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
Jerry Smith
Oct 12, 2009 Jerry Smith rated it liked it
Shelves: history, 2009-read
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
Jul 01, 2009 Andy rated it liked it
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
Joanna Mieso
Jun 15, 2009 Joanna Mieso rated it liked it
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
Jan 25, 2015 Jaimie rated it liked it
I usually find it quite difficult to get into most non-fiction (spent too many years reading only the fruits of academia), but the author's narrative style in this book was very approachable. In fact, he borders on gossip and speculation at times, but this lack of gravitas offsets the factual basis of Carter's discovery of King Tut's tomb to just the right extent. We feel like we can really get to know Carter's cantankerous and determined personality, which is reall he thread that weaves togethe ...more
Jun 05, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: ancient-egypt
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
Feb 05, 2011 Tiffany rated it really liked it
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
Feb 18, 2011 Shane rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
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
Kay Mercuro
Mar 06, 2016 Kay Mercuro rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
A fascinating story of Howard Carter and his search for tombs of the Egyptian Kings which had not been raided. Lots of intrigue, jealousies, stumbling blocks in the way over the many years Mr. Carter excavated ruins in Egypt. Finding King Tut's tomb untouched was the icing on the cake.
I enjoyed reading this book by Mr. Meyerson. I had the opportunity to visit the Egyptian Museum in the 1990's and saw the artifacts found in King Tuts tomb. This story reminded me of the hard work behind the excava
Jul 07, 2012 Adam rated it liked it
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
Jul 22, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
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
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.
Lianne Burwell
Aug 31, 2015 Lianne Burwell rated it it was ok
As a fan of ancient Egypt (mainly through Bob Brier, excellent writer, lecturer, archaeologist), I picked this up at the library. There was some interesting stories her, but the tone was far too casual, and some things were presented as fact that everywhere else I've seen with a little less certainly. Still, it was a short little book, and an interesting enough read, just not anywhere as good as it could have been.
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.
Feb 20, 2016 Beth rated it liked it
An entertaining book about Howard Carter's path to Egypt and his efforts to find Tutankhamun's tomb. The language is sometimes a little breathless, but I enjoyed reading some details about Carter that I hadn't read before, and the discovery of the tomb is truly an amazing story. "Wonderful things." After seeing the recent exhibit in 2005 in Philadelphia, I can say that they are indeed wonderful things of amazing beauty.
Jan 05, 2013 Foggygirl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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".
Lindsay Baumeister
Aug 03, 2013 Lindsay Baumeister rated it liked it
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.
Sep 28, 2010 Meg rated it it was ok
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.
Steven Phelps
Oct 22, 2014 Steven Phelps rated it it was ok
The author really lets the reader down after a lengthy set up, tersley settling at abrupt stopping point after bouncing around in time. Started off great, but meanders and wanes rather quickly. Two stars, I'm sure Tut would've agreed.
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