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4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  890 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Through concise text and richly detailed black and white illustrations we come to know the philosophy of life and death in ancient Egypt.
ebook, 80 pages
Published April 26th 1982 by Hmh Books for Young Readers (first published 1975)
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I might have read this years ago, but I couldn't remember for sure. This is worth a second read, if that's what this was. I appreciate David Macaulay's skill at making things I am not terribly interested in very readable for me. I find the pyramids themselves very interesting, but all the minute details of construction could turn into a chore to read with a less adept author. Macaulay's illustrations help a lot with the details and add to my interest in the subject. I was very fascinated in the ...more
(Same review for Castle, Cathedral, and Pyramid, which I read all around the same time)

I greatly enjoyed Randall Munroe's What If. It reminded me in some ways of David Macaulay's books, which I read as a child. Inspired and nostalgic, I went out and acquired several of them, and decided to spell some of my "grown-up" reading with them:

- Castle is about a British castle in the 1200s-1300s
- Cathedral is about a French cathedral in the 1200s-1300s
- Pyramid is about an Egyptian pyramid in the 2400s
When I picked this book, I really didn't think I was going to like it and thought it was going to be rather boring. However, I read it very quickly because I became more intrigued as I read about how they really did build those huge towers back in those days. I think what got me the most is the amount of time that it took them to build them. It seemed rather ridiculous to me that the pharoah would spend most of his time planning his own funeral and the place where he would be buried. However, it ...more
Andrew Watt
The pyramid presented in David Macaulay's architecture book is fictional and imaginary. Nevertheless, it is built in the 2400s BC in the same way that pyramids really were built about then, or at least were built insofar as we understand how they were built in 1982. Macaulay, despite being thirty years out of date almost, is still pretty much up to the minute on the 24th century BC and its technology.

does it show that I've been reading Charles Stross lately?

Anyway, this is an 80-page young-adult
Elines Flores
Before reading, I had some background knowledge of the Egyptian pyramids. Even though I learned some new information, neither the text nor the illustrations were enticing. The black and white coloring of the illustrations brought on a sort of dull mood while reading. Also, the diagrams were mostly confusing, not really detailing what was happening. This may be enjoyed more by those who have this specific interest.
Mar 24, 2015 Samina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: info-bios
David Macaulay does an amazing job depicting the life of a pyramid builder. Readers can see the progress of building a pyramid. I love how they show and go through what every tool would be and how it would be used. The illustrations are really well done. They are black and white, simply sketched but they are detailed and well thought out, depicting the life of a pyramid builder.
This was a very informational book about how to build pyramids. More specifically, the tomb of the pharaoh who ruled in 2470 BC. The story showed a step by step process of how the pyramid was formed. The pictures were a little confusing for me, and were hard to follow. The text was descriptive and easier to follow than the pictures. The back also has a glossary that allows the readers to understand new words.
Rebecca Jasman
Publication Date: 1975

Genre: Informational book

Awards won:

Themes: building, Ancient Egypt

Annotation: This book has black and white illustrations that take the reader through the process of building the Egyptian pyramids.

Ways to use the book with children: as a part of an Ancient Egypt unit, introduction to informational texts
Aug 02, 2014 Jenniferpawlik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very detailed account of how Egyptian pyramids were built. The numerous sketches throughout illustrated the massive size of the pyramid, and the great number of people needed to build it. This is one of the books recommended by Spalding for sixth-grade students.
Jun 13, 2014 Anfinwen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are at all interested in ancient Egypt, it's customs and building methods, then this book is for you.
Pyramid is clearly illustrated and documents workers, tools, methods, and even embalming; all in an entertaining, almost storybook style.
Nov 25, 2015 Bladestryke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVED this book! ( thanx Jean!) it was a quick read but it gave its info in an interesting way and the simple and highly detailed artwork won me over. Can you find the little priest giving prayers next to the capstone? A must for any Egypt lover!
I hesitate to put an age delineation on this timeless classic. We read it for elementary study of ancient Egypt, but Dad was just as intrigued as student and I'm sure the rest of the engineers in our family would sit with this classic and absorb the information.

The story that 'frames' the work is fictional, but all the technology is non-fiction. The main attraction of this book is the line drawings. These drawings that illustrate the numerous steps of the pyramid building process are invaluable
Hollee Young
Great informational text! It has a lot of great pictures to help explain the story to the readers. I like how it shows the steps it took to build the pyramids.
Mar 03, 2016 Tanya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great introduction to historical architectural techniques, but the black and white illustrations are lacking.
Tim Brown
I've always loved David Macaulay's books. I remember spending hours and hours (and probably days) as a youngster poring over the fabulous illustrations in Castle and later Pyramid, Cathedral and Underground... I never actually READ them until I read them with my own kids. Still awesome.
Jun 08, 2015 Mckinley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still love Egyptian stuff.
This might be my favorite Macaulay book yet. It answers so many of my questions about how the ancient Egyptians were able to build such a technological marvel, and doesn't once bring up out-of-place modern technologies or pseudo-divine extraterrestrials in the process. One of many details—the use of water-filled ditches as levels—blew my mind!
Timothy Boyd
Feb 08, 2016 Timothy Boyd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know these are written for a younger audience but they are great! Incredible illustrations and information. Highly recommended to a younger reader or an older one starting a new area of intrest
I'm not sure what I expected upon reading this book, but it wasn't this. It felt as if the narrator was some old fart trying to put me to sleep during an 8 a.m. lecture. It was dull and it dragged on and on considering pictures took up more than the words, but it was incredibly boring.
It was factual and to the point, but very lackluster. Maybe it would have been better with color pictures and a little more enthusiasm.
We looked through this, but didn't read the text out loud. I didn't think my elementary set would understand it and it was a little slow to boot. They did really enjoy the pictures and it helped them visualize the things they'd read about in other books.

It's a valuable visual resource, but may not work for younger kids. I'll have to try it again when they're older.
Another of David MacAulay's great books that uses architectural history as a starting point to portray a whole culture and people, in this case those of the classical Egyptian civilization that created the pyramids. A great book to read with the kids or grandkids, like his companion volumes Castle, Cathedral, Mosque, City, Mill, and Unbuilding.
Aug 08, 2012 Mloy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"This was one of the more fascinating books on pyramids I've read; wonderfully informative, full of engrossing facts about construction, surveying techniques and the interesting tools of the era, accompanied by some amazing, detailed sketches. Makes you appreciate how awesome this ancient civilization really was."
Carol Spears
Dec 26, 2013 Carol Spears rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another interesting edition. I learned that the ancient Egyptians thought (accurately, actually) that being dead lasts a lot longer than being alive so they built their homes out of mud and their tombs out of stone.
I didn't love this one as much as Castle. The Spouse is interested in Egyptology, so I found myself wondering how much of it is still true, thirty years after it was published.
Sep 12, 2008 Silme rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kendrick read this book and learned how an Egyptian Pyramid is built, the tools they used, the quarries stone was obtained from and building the pyramid itself. The book was primarily technical and contained little information about the people who built the pyramids.
Jan 07, 2014 Mcrabtree rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about how to build pyramids
Nov 04, 2010 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Megan by: Book-A-Day Almanac 11/4/10
Black and white drawings illustrate this readable, informative description of the building of the Egyptian pyramids. Probably won't appeal to a wide audience, but readers with an interest in Egypt, mummies, or archetecture will find it fascinating.
The information and illustrations presented are great. However, it can get a little boring to read in one sitting. I will wait to read this with my kids when they are in the 8-12 year range - and do so in several readings.
Kris Minnich
Aug 06, 2011 Kris Minnich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this was my first Macaulay book. This was simply excellent for helping my young mind get a grasp on the amazing skills and techniques use to build some of the greatest monuments in the world.
Jun 09, 2011 Samantha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like when the made the queen's pyramid. It is kind of weird when they take out the brain through the nose and they also take out the intestines and lungs and stuff through a little slit in the body.
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David Macaulay, born in 1946, was eleven when his parents moved from England to Bloomfield, New Jersey. He found himself having to adjust from an idyllic English childhood to life in a fast paced American city. During this time he began to draw seriously, and after graduating from high school he enrolled in the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). After spending his fifth year at RISD in Rome on ...more
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