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Akhenaten: Egypt's False Prophet Paperback – May, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500285527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500285527
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #702,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

By using archaeological studies and theories, Reeves has written a captivating and educational interpretation of the life and times of Akhenaten, a legendary pharaoh of ancient Egypt. Akhenaten is probably best known for being the husband of Nefertiti and the father of Tutankhamun; he is also known for being the ruler who attempted to restructure the Egyptian multigod religion organization into a monotheistic form of worship. Reeves, author of The Complete Tut ankhamun (1990) and former curator of the British Museum's Department of Egyptian Antiquities, argues some new and original theories behind Akhenaten's actions regarding political policy and religion. Sexuality, the creation of his new capital city, the arts, and political intrigue are all topics discussed as Reeves describes this era of long ago. Anyone interested in the enthralling history of the pharaohs of antiquity should read Akhenaten for further insights into this long forgotten and notorious ruler, and his ultimate failures. Julia Glynn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


A captivating and educational interpretation of the life and times of Akhenaten. -- Booklist

A racy, irresistible detective story full of hidden clues—and bodies—magic geometry, and ruthlessness masked as mysticism. -- New York Times Book Review

For those interested in ancient Egypt, this highly informative book is required reading. -- Choice

Written in an engaging style for the general reader; provides a concise, up-to-date and highly readable overview. -- Religious Studies Review

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Customer Reviews

I recommend Mr. Reeves books and hope you will get a copy.
Sharon F. Ogden
Reeves puts forth the most plausible explanation for the identity of the ephemeral Smenkhkare, and the occupant of KV55.
What bothers me most is that he offers no convincing evidence to support this interpretation.
T. Leffler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Fabian Boudville on November 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In my view, Nicholas Reeves delivers a long needed reappraisal of Akhenaten's reign by arguing that most interpretations of this controversial Pharaoh--as a benevolent ruler who merely believed in the existence of One God are totally at odds with the surviving facts from his reign. Although Reeves' book is devoted to the monarch, Akhenaten does not take centre stage until the beginning of Chapter 4(p.75) when he accedes to the throne. In the previous chapters, Reeves meticulously lays out the rise of the New Kingdom Empire, the discovery of El-Amarna and the tremendous wealth that Egypt enjoyed under the prosperous 38 year reign of Amenhotep III, Akhenaten's father.

Reeves argues, compellingly that rather than being a devout Monotheist (someone who believes in the existence of one God--the Aten here), Akhenaten used his Religious revolution to cynically concentrate power in his hands--at the expense of more traditional political structures of Ancient Egypt such as the Amun Priesthood. The Amun priests were denied access to the considerable wealth of the Amun temples which had boosted the Egyptian economy after they had defied Akhenaten's wishes in his 4th Year. The wealth was instead conveniently diverted into the Treasury of the Egyptian state, ie. Akhenaten. Soon after, Reeves notes that Akhenaten unleashed a Wave of Terror against anything remotely concerning the old religious order--between his Year 8 and Year 12--as his agents actively destroyed non-Atenist religious statues and hacked out the names and images of these gods wherever they occured--on Temple Walls, Obelisks, Shrines and even on the accessible portions of Tombs. (pp.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Lazaro Lopez on April 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Nicholas Reeves' latest book, Akhenaten is a convincing re-assessment of the 17 year reign of Egypt's heretic king. Drawing on recent discoveries and the re-examination of previous finds, to shed more light on this most controversial period of Egyptian history. Especially convincing were his arguments on the true identity of the mummy found in KV55, and the evidence pointing to Akhenaten's co-regency with Queen Nefertiti as Smenkhare. What I did find distressing and curious was Mr. Reeves' obvious distaste and criticism for Queen/King Hatshepsut. I do still recommend this book highly. An important work on a very important time in history.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey C. Collins on July 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is the best book-length treatment of the Heretic King since Aldred's famous "Akhenaten: King of Egypt" (1988), and of course, it is more up-to-date. Beautifully illustrated, scholarly but eminently readable. The author's grasp of most of the complex and controversial issues surrounding the Amarna period is on the money. He develops the equation of Queen Nefertiti with King Smenkhkare in a way that is the most convincing yet (although I must still disagree with that theory, I confess). For sheer reading pleasure, I must say it is on a par with Mme Desroches-Noblecourt's "Tutankhamen" (1963). There's a surprise on almost every page for even the seasoned Amarnaphile (Who else could tell you that Hitler was a great admirer of the "Aryan" bust of Queen Nefertiti?). In summary, this book is easily without peer on all counts and, in fact, is the best thing the author has written to date.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful By T. Jenkins on March 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you've read one Akhenaten title you've basically read them all. As with the countless versions which have preceeded Mr. Reeves treatment of the socalled False Prophet, the author reproduces and supports many of the curious claims surrounding the Amarna periods infamous ruler. One area the author appears to make headway is in identifying Amenophis III with the Aten. In detailing Amenophis III and his adoption of the Aten personna as his "deified physical manifestation", Mr. Reeves appears to defend Akhenaten from the status of "False prophet", but he quickly backpeddles and returns to the normal persecution completely ignoring his own statements.

So was Akhenaten a mad religious zealot or merely a devoted son expressing loyalty and love for his departed father? Was Akhetaten a new capitol city or simply the grandest form of tribute to the man whom truly gave him life? If Akhetaten was indeed the capitol city as is claimed then it appears that the new Pharoah was more of a visionary than many of his predecessors as the location of this new city was a centralized location. Halfway between the old capitols of southern and northern Egypt "as Mr. Reeves points out". This would serve to unify the country and make the Pharoah and his court more accessible to the population and not isolate them as is claimed in this book. Another curious and unverified claim adopted by the author from previous sources is the decline of the Egyptian empire under Akhenaten. As I have said this is an often repeated claim which is never verified. None of the authors who preach of the Egyptian empires decline under Akhenaten ever present verifiable facts to support their claim and Mr. Reeves is no differnt.
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