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Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia Paperback – July 7, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0195183641 ISBN-10: 0195183649

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Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia + Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia + Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195183649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195183641
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 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: #362,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Bertman, professor emeritus of classics at the University of Windsor, has made a useful contribution to Facts On File's Handbook to Life series. Covering the lives of Assyrians, Babylonians, and Sumerians from around 3500 to 500 B.C.E., the book is arranged topically, with chapters on geography, archaeology, government, religion, language and literature, arts, and daily life, among other subjects. Each chapter has citations to the extensive bibliography. Most of the works in the larger bibliography are technical and specialized, but a "Note to the Reader" lists several popular works that could be found in a larger public library. Bertman's writing is formal but accessible, with touches of dry humor.

Subsections within the chapters deal with more specific topics. In the chapter on government, there are capsule biographies of political leaders, mostly kings. The chapter on archaeology provides a list of archaeologists who have made major discoveries in the region. Gods and goddesses are described in the chapter on religion. There is an interesting concluding chapter about the legacy of Mesopotamia and how it endures. A brief section on Aramaic-speaking Chaldeans who migrated from an ancient village in Iraq to Detroit in the twentieth century suggests that the legacy is more alive than we realize. Bertman notes, too, how many archaeological sites have been put at risk by recent political and military actions in the region.

The book is illustrated with black-and-white photographs and line drawings, which should copy well. Appendixes include a chronological table and a list of museums with major Mesopotamian collections. A useful purchase for medium-sized to large public libraries and academic libraries with undergraduate Middle Eastern ancient history classes.

RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Bertman, professor emeritus of classics at the University of Windsor, has made a useful contribution to the Handbook to Life series. Covering the lives of Assyrians, Babylonians, and Sumerians from around 3500 to 500 B.C.E., the book is arranged topically, with chapters on geography, archaeology, government, religion, language and literature, arts, and daily life, among other subjects. Bertman's writing is formal but accessible, with touches of dry humor. The book is illustrated with black-and-white photographs and line drawings, which should copy well. Appendixes include a chronological table and a list of museums with major Mesopotamian collections. --Booklist

More About the Author

Stephen Bertman, PhD (Windsor, Ontario), professor emeritus of classics at the University of Windsor, is the author of seven books, including Doorways through Time (featured by the Natural Science Book Club), Eight Pillars of Greek Wisdom, Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, and Erotic Love Poems of Greece and Rome.

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jia Gu Wen on August 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
I just spent about 10 minutes with this book in a store. I know the genre of "Travel Books to Ancient Lands", however, and I'd say that this book is worth its weight in gold! It's chock full of interesting tidbits on how the Sumerians lived in a very readable format. Academics should take notes -books like this will fly off the shelves!

It's very anthropological: It covers a very broad range of topics in Sumerian life. There was food, worship, travel, language, and other things.

Aside from their language and its writing system, this is the kind of information that I WANT in a book about a culture, a civilization. King Lists and Mythologies are fine (excellent in the original language) but give me the culmination of 150 years of digging and writing -I want to know what the run-of-the-mill man's work-a-day life was like, too.

This book is jam-packed with facts. If you can spare the money and you want to know how Sumerians lived their life, this is it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John B. Lankford on December 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is THE book for those who want to know more about this topic. You can turn to it with much appreciation. It is well-written, presented in a easy way , gives a time-line of history in the back, divides sections into logical areas ( like history, archetecture etc). Just a complete book. Goes well with Roux's book "Ancient Iraq".5 stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Linda Ratliff on May 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, in spite of its affordable price and approachable writing style, Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia is quite clearly a textbook. This is not a bad thing, and I would generally expect most books on the subject to be textbooks—it’s usually not a subject for the casual reader. That said, as a textbook, it is generally laid out well (there are a couple of exceptions, which I’ll get to in a moment) and it is very readable. While I am not an expert in the subject (if I were, I wouldn’t have gotten this book), it appears to be factually correct, and uses reliable source materials for reference.
There are a few quirks in the layout—the first half of the book is very heavy on lists. If you’re a teacher, this can be helpful for helping your students assimilate a lot of facts very quickly. However, it also takes everything out of chronological order and makes it difficult to put anything into a chronological context. Again, if you’re a teacher, you can correct for this in your lectures, but if you’re approaching it as a layman or for independent study, you may have trouble keeping it straight whether the Akkadians or the Assyrians came first. In some cases, like the list of various gods, it is the most appropriate way to cover the information, but I do wonder if making the first two chapters a gazetteer and list of archaeologists was the best choice—indeed, I kind of feel like the archaeologists were included to take up space—they don’t appear to be mentioned again and, while relevant, would be more appropriate in an appendix than at the beginning of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Larissa Taylor on February 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
I chose this book for a new course on ancient civilizations and am thrilled with the book for its scope, the excellent writing, useful lists, and occasional parallels with the modern world. Bertman really knows his material, and it comes across in a very accessible and useful study of the first civilization. Originally I found the occasional lists disconcerting and worried that it broke up the reading, but as I continued I realized I could continue and then refer back as necessary. It inspired me to offer my students a written project as their first assignment rather than a standard essay.

Great book!
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