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Ancient Egypt on 5 Deben a Day (Traveling on 5) Paperback – November 1, 2010

5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Donald P. Ryan is an Egyptologist and archaeologist who has spent more than twenty years excavating in the Valley of the Kings. He lives in Tacoma, Washington.
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Product Details

  • Series: Traveling on 5
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500287880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500287880
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,020,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Terrific introductory book but full of facts. I am an Egyptology student and found this book really helpful as a snapshot of Ancient Egypt at the time of Ramses II. I recommended it to a 15 year old staying with me who is fascinated by Egyptology and she loved it and intends to buy her own copy. It is just like a modern travel guide but written as a guide to a foreigner at the time of Ramses II. It full of facts presented in a unusual format with some great pictures showing you Egypt at that time. I particularly liked the one of Karnak. If you are coming to Egypt as a tourist then this book will be good background reading as most of the monuments you see are those described in the book. I have attended lectures by the author and he has a humorous, quirky style and the book is just like that too. 100% recommended
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This is the perfect book for both academic and enthusiastic amateur alike. It accomplishes the difficult task of being chock-full of information (Ryan is a well-regarded and widely published college professor with many years' experience excavating in Egypt and beyond) whilst being readable, engaging and humorous. It is genuinely enjoyable!

The book encourages the reader to consider ancient Egyptian culture through the eyes of an Egyptian traveler ca. 1250BC during the New Kingdom reign of Ramesses II. This is a pleasing twist on more traditional and frequently drier tourist/academic literature. The scope is wide-ranging but doesn't skimp on detail. Ryan provides general information for the visitor - what to wear, when to go, money, food, drink and social norms as well as a giving a broader perspective of the ancient land - its history, geography, religion, art and building practices. The traveler is guided from the north (Memphis, Saqqara, Giza etc), through Middle Egypt (Dahshur, the Fayyum, Amarna) and on towards the south (Thebes, Aswan and into Nubia - the north of modern Sudan).

Thames and Hudson have a history of publishing finely presented works and this book is no exception. The text is complemented by well-chosen illustrations consisting of line drawings, paintings and photographs; many of the drawings come from classic early publications including Lepsius, Champollion, and the epic Description de l'Égypte. There are a couple of sections of full-color plates. Interesting facts are highlighted throughout in separate text boxes along with a selection of excerpts from ancient Egyptian spells, poems and letters. The books wraps up with maps/plans and a useful (and amusing) glossary/phrase list: "Nefer Kemet er-see er tay-ee khaset kheset."

If you have a passion for Egypt or are a traveler looking for literary transportation to pastures new - buy this book!
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Format: Paperback
This is probably not a standard kind of review, because I'll say right up front that I had the privilege of reading the book in manuscript and I'm proud to be a friend and colleague of the author for these past more than 20 years. (Egyptology is a fairly small world and in our field this is pretty common knowledge.) I have particular tastes in reading -- I like books that can transport me to another time or place or create another environment that I can see and sense around me. As soon as I started reading this book I realized that it fulfilled those expectations and was not simply a work of Egyptological reference. Also, even as an Egyptologist who has been publishing for more than 40 years, I found that I was learning things from this book and that Don's peerless hands-on familiarity with ancient Egypt's material culture had produced a book very pleasantly written but unobtrusively and un-ostentatiously full of information. In fact, books that present the entire gamut of information found in Ancient Egypt on 5 Deben a Day in such a balanced and compact form are pretty scarce. Those with whom I have shared this book have been uniformly enthusiastic. I encourage and indeed urge anyone curious about ancient Egypt -- and I know from experience (starting with my own voyage of discovery starting in my teenage years) that there are a lot of such people -- to give this book a try and take a trip to ancient Egypt.

Edmund S. Meltzer PhD
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