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Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization, Second Edition Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0415235501 ISBN-10: 0415235502 Edition: 2nd

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Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization, Second Edition + A History of Ancient Egypt + The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies, and Poetry; Third Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (December 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415235502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415235501
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Barnaby Thieme on August 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
The prospective reader should bear in mind that this interesting and useful book is oriented toward archaeological evidence and data. Historical material is provided primarily to interpret the archaeological data, and while it does contain an enormous amount of information of historical interest, it is not intended to offer a narrative overview of Egyptian history.

Its purpose is admirably served by Kemp's sweeping and up-to-date review of various findings. Considering materials dating from the Neolithic period to the invasion of Alexander the Great, he deftly explores what we know -- and what we do not know -- about the nature of life along the Nile during that vast expanse of time.

Kemp's primary orientation is political and economic material and he strikes this reader as heavily influenced by Marx. This especially comes across in his handling of Egyptian religious material, which I found to be the weakest part of the book. Kemp is tone deaf to religious literature and treats it purely as ideology. But if the purpose of archaeology is to understand, we cannot understand a thing without understanding how it functioned in people's actual lives. Whatever one's personal beliefs, a purely ideological analysis of religious material remains very much at the surface.

Another minor criticism is that Routledge is stingy with photographs in a book that positively cries out for lavish illustration. The overwhelming majority of illustrations are two- or three-tone line drawings.

For a reader who is interested in what this book has to offer, I can unreservedly recommend it. It was engaging from start to finish and gave a wonderful sense of what we know about Ancient Egypt and how we know it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marcolorenzo on April 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I don't think I have learned more from any one book on Egypt than I have from this one. This is a cultural - intellectual and social history of Egypt and is not in any way a traditional Historical - Dynastic - Political - Chronological account. Kemp evaluates and interprets large bodies of archeological evidence in a most fascinating social-cultural way, telling a continous tale about the culture of Ancient Egypt - what the royal palaces were like, what the houses of the nobles were like, what kind of dress was probably seen within the walls of the royal palace, etc.. You will learn what the ancient Egyptian ate, what they considered important about their identity, how they viewed themselves in comparison with their neighbors and enemies. Many floor plans are presented of royal and domestic architecture as well as the plans of the cult temples and mortuary temples. Kemp also makes frequent reference to questions about our own times that the ancient Egyptian culture could provide answers for, or alternative solutions. The author is also very interested in the history of consciousness and how it evolves through the ancient Egyptian society up to and including our own time. The questions he poses about Egyptian and modern society failures are most intriguing and pertinent. Reading this study, the ancient Egyptian people who created the monuments we are often familiar with, really come alive as living human beings. You get inside the culture of Egypt and into the working mind of the royal noble and worker classes. This insight into the working of the Egyptian mind is also reinforced through analyses of the pictorial and architectural heritage presented. Many of the wall paintings and stone tablet designs have been re-drawn as line drawings to help better explain and demonstrate their meaning.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anderson Morais on September 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It has a social point of view of Ancient Egypt. If you want a full detailed book about Sociology of Ancient, that's a good one!
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By mrs.peapod on January 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a superb text on Ancient Egypt. It gives the student a well-rounded vision of study from the pre-dynastic era through the New Kingdom. It is well written and easy to read, thorough though not intimidating. A good beginning book for a student new to this part of history. Recommended!
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