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In the Valley of the Kings: Howard Carter and the Mystery of King Tutankhamun's Tomb Hardcover – Deckle Edge


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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034547693X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345476937
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #618,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon.com Best of the Month, May 2009: Hewn from his discovery of the treasure-laden tomb of Tutankhamum, the legacy of famed archeologist Howard Carter invokes notions of adventure, dark curses, and untold riches. Yet as cinematic as such stories may be, they are incongruous with a man who carved out an isolated existence sifting through the unforgiving desert sands. Author Daniel Meyerson maintains that the real story of Howard Carter is about struggle and pride, not gold and silver. At a time when archeology was dominated by the upper classes of society, Carter's lack of a genteel upbringing created a rather large chip on his shoulder. A desire to silence critics consumed him, and nearly lead to his own undoing "The same driven quality that enabled him to find Tut's tomb," explains Meyerson, "also brought about his downfall." Had a series of timely events not provided Carter a second chance at glory, one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century could very well still lie buried in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. -- Dave Callanan

Look Inside In the Valley of the Kings

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Howard Carter seated beside the coffin of King Tutankhamun 1926. © Griffith Institute,University
Howard Carter, May 8, 1924 © National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress
Statues of Memnon in Thebes. © Francis Frith, Library of Congress


From Publishers Weekly

Meyerson (The Linguist and the Emperor) delves into the career and psyche of Howard Carter, the British archeologist who in 1922 discovered the 3,300-year-old gold- and jewel-laden tomb of the boy king Tut. Lower-class and lacking a formal education, Carter worked with his father, a painter of animal portraits for the aristocracy. He was discovered and hired in 1892 by the Egyptian Exploration Fund to copy paintings, ancient inscriptions and friezes in Egypt's dark tombs. Carter debuted as an excavator under the tutelage of Flinders Petrie, the single-minded father of modern archeology, at Amarna, the capital of Tut's father. Intense, irascible, brooding and obsessed, Carter searched for Tut for seven years, funded by the fifth earl of Carnarvon, a bon vivant millionaire who came to excavations with fine china and table linens and who died from septic poisoning after nicking a mosquito bite while shaving. Although Meyerson favors a playful writing style that can be intrusive and rambling, his work is also well researched and entertaining, and brings to life the ancient pharaohs and their tumultuous reigns as well as the excavators who disturbed their eternal sleep. Photos. (May)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Our fascination with things from ancient Egypt seems as if it will never go away. If you don't know any other names from the age, you know the name of King Tutankhamun, the discovery of whose tomb in 1922 created a sensation in Egyptology that caught popular, scientific, and historical attention which has never waned. We only know of Tutankhamun because of the good fortune, and the hard work in conquering bad fortune, of Howard Carter, who by force of will turned himself into a skilled excavator, without getting a formal education. His story is at the center of _In the Valley of the Kings: Howard Carter and the Mystery of King Tutankhamun's Tomb_ (Ballantine Books) by historian Daniel Myerson, who presents Carter as a fine example of a flawed personality who succeeded through tenacity and sheer eagerness to work. There is also a good summary of the history of Tutankhamun and his immediate ancestors, as well as reflections on the rules of the archeological game of the time.

Carter was low-born, with roots going back to the rural British lower class. He happened to have some skill at painting and sketching, and was doing so at the country estate of a family that was wild about Egyptian art. This led to his dream of going to Egypt, in 1892 at age seventeen. He went as a mere copyist, but became intoxicated with archeology. He lucked into an assignment with legendary William Matthew Flinders Petrie, and was quickly assigned his own excavation of Akhenaten's great temple. He became a chief inspector of archeological sites, but in a ruckus in which Egyptian guards struck belligerent Frenchmen who were trying to enter a prohibited area, Carter backed the guards, refused to apologize and was forced to resign. He was then "cold-shouldered by the elite and blacklisted as an excavator.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Allen Myers on November 18, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Overall, the book is an enjoyable read and is a good introduction to the period leading to the discovery of the tomb. What it lacks is any real details about what happened after they discovered it. About 95% of the book predates the moment of discovery. There is not enough spent on the various controversies surrounding Carter and the tomb, whether or not he and Canarvon stole objects, etc. The book hints at these events in early chapters but never gets around to discussing them. Its almost as if the author had a deadline and was forced to shut down the book about 4 chapters early. There is also no discussion of the objects actually found in the tomb. It just ends with the discovery and gives a five page epilogue.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William Suddaby on June 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A delightful, fascinating read. Daniel Meyerson's depictions of Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon are revealing, giving us two extraordinary and gifted men with their warts and all. He also gives us a vibrant picture of Egypt and its archaeology before World War II. In spite of a few minor inaccuracies, there is much here to intrigue those fascinated with King Tut and the men who found him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bro. John on January 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book that starts off well and has much to recommend it. It is just that after whetting the appetite of the reader with many insights into Carter's personality and early career in Egypt, the author leaves us hungry for more details about the actual finding of Tutankhamun's Tomb and its subsequent history. It was interesting at first, but I felt that it faltered towards the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert T. on November 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting story which is covered only semi-passably by the author. There seems to be a real depth both to Carter's story and character that are missing in this book. Further, the author doesn't take any coherent approach to telling Carter's story, instead opting to jump around rather erratically through the timeline with no real rhyme or reason. He spends a strange amount of time covering other individuals only loosely related to Carter, which felt more like a kid showing off his knowledge than an author trying to educate an audience. This is a wonderful story which needs to be told, but I think there are much more productive ways of telling it than this particular book demonstrates.
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