The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt: The History of a Civilisation from 3000 BC to Cleopatra
A lot of my extramural reading for the past while has been dedicated to books with an Egyptian theme, including Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Qua ...more
While I am familiar with the general outline of Egyptian history, every section had something new to say to me that enriched my understanding or revealed ...more
From first picking it up, it became hard every time I had to put it down. The combination of fluid, easy writing and the fact that this book is packed to the rafters with interesting, engaging material meant it quickly became a page-tur ...more
This is a full scale history of Ancient Egypt, starting very early in pre-history and going to the death of Cleopatra. I'm not sure when the last book of this type was written, but I think it might have been before World War I (and that is WW I and not WW II). A lot has changed in what ...more
The sketchy and vague coverage of the predynastic and early dynastic period was particularly disappointing, since this is the area the author is an expert on, and perhaps the one where the most excit ...more
Mr. Wilkinson has not only attempted, but delivered, a summary history of the Egyptian civilization, from conception to Cleopatra.
Aside from the scope of the work, coupled with actually having achieved it, the most remarkable thing about this book is that Mr. Wilkinson was able to craft such an accessible work.
Even when faced with source material that was both sparse, thousands of years old and almost ...more
Covers some 4970 years, from unification of Upper/Lower Egypt to fall of Cleopatra. Does good job of incorporating some new conjectures as well as recent archaeological discoveries. Does tend to focus on dynastic elements a bit much, but does cover a lot of ground and does so very well, so some things may be excused. It may well be all that we know about some eras. Author ch ...more
"The study of ancient Egyptian civilization," Wilkinson writes, "exposes the devices by which people have been organized, cajoled, dominated, and subjugated down to the present day."
The writer who is although a researcher and a doctor in Egyptology has done a monumental effort in condensing 3000 years in about half a thousand pages.
I found many interesting parts in the book that resonates to 2010s history o ...more
Given current events in Egypt, I found much in this long bu ...more
I have several minor critici ...more
3 1/2 stars.
Comprehensive and capable but ultimately less than inspiring. It held my interest but failed to deliver a broader message. The legacy of Ancient Egypt is wrapped up in a quickie three-page epilogue that emphasizes Pharaonic contributions to pop culture. Surely there are greater lessons to be drawn from three millennia of despotic history?
Perhaps I was spoiled by having just finished Babylon: Mesopotamia and the ...more
In deze meesterlijk geschiedenis van het oude Egypte vertelt Toby Wilkinson het verhaal van een van de grootste beschavingen die ooit hebben bestaan. De geschiedenis van het oude Egypte en de uitzonderlijke beschaving die gedurende drieduizend jaar bloeide langs de oevers van de Nijl, lijkt een spektakelstuk vol bijzondere gebeurtenissen: de bouw van de piramides, de verovering van Nubia, de kracht en schoonheid van Nefertiti, de invasie van Alexander de Grote en Cleopatras fatale relatie met R...more
As a chronological summary of Ancient Egyptian history it necessarily glossess over details. Even so I began to tire on the continuous stream of Pharoahs, civil wars and megalomaniac projects halfway through the book. One can't help but to think how nasty, brutish and short l ...more
I had no idea.
When Cleopatra took her own life in 30-something BC, she stood at the end of a 3100 year tradition. So as much time and cultural distance separated Cleopatra from the firs ...more
Wilkinson's prose makes this book far more tolerable than it has any reason to be - I'm interested but not an academic by any means on ancient Egypt, and there is just SO much information, including multiple rulers with the same name, multiple variations on the same name base, multiple locations that get renamed in the span of the book ...more
I think 3 millennia is simply too much for one book to cover without reading badly. I'm not giving it a star rating, because I don't feel I got far enough into it to really judge it.
Wilkinson writes in a very accessible style. The book's start is a little dry, because of the lack of written sources, but soon the rulers of Egypt become real people and one gets a sense of both their personalities and the challenges they faced.
Wilkinson challenges some old ideas about ancient Eg ...more
I felt the author tried to cover too much ground (the book could have ended at the fall of the New Kingdom without suffering much) without going into sufficient depth. I understand parts of the historical record are pretty sketchy, particularly for the earliest dynasties, but the author simply glosses over many details which would have added to the value of the work. There was too much emphasis on monument-building at the expense of trade ...more