Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Mirage: Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt Paperback – December 9, 2008
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Burleigh spotlights the Indiana Jones-esque scientists who joined Napoleon’s Egyptian invasion during the late 18th century.” (People)
More About the Author
Her other books include Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land; Mirage: Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt; The Stranger and the Statesman: James Smithson, John Quincy Adams and the Making of America's Greatest Museum, the Smithsonian; and A Very Private Woman: The Life and Murder of Presidential Mistress Mary Meyer.
Mirage, published in 2008 by Harper Collins, was selected by the New York Times as an editors' choice and won the Society of Women Educators' Award in 2008.
Burleigh was born and educated in the Midwest, has traveled throughout the United States and extensively in the Middle East and lived in Italy and France. As a journalist, she has covered American politics, the White House and Congress for Time and reported and wrote human interest stories at People Magazine from New York. She is an adjunct professor at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
She currently covers national politics at Newsweek and her feature articles on a wide variety of topics have been published in the New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, New York and Bloomberg's Businessweek, Elle, and many other journals. She has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, CBS 48 Hours, various programs on CNN, C-Span, as well as NPR and countless radio outlets.
Top Customer Reviews
The story concerns Napoleon's foray into Egypt in 1799. Ostensibly it was to expand scientific knowledge of this ancient and mysterious land. In reality, it was the start of the anticipated conquest and annexation of Egypt. As the British did with India (i.e., creating a far-east outpost), the French were hoping to do with Egypt. But things did not go exactly as planned.
In other books on the subject, the focus is on the military aspect of the expedition. About 50,000 soldiers and sailors accompanied Napoleon. In Mirage, the author (Nina Burleigh) focuses on the 151 scientists (or savants) who also accompanied him. Here, the savants are the "heroes." We learn of their trials, tribulations, and successes.
Each chapter concerns a different savant and their respective expertise: botany, math, medicine, engineering, art, etc. Through the eyes of learned gents, we learn about Egypt, the parochial views of 19th century Europe, and the folly of imperialism. It's a terrific perspective that is told in an easily accessible style.
Burleigh keeps up the suspense. She covers many academic fields but does not overwhelm a reader. It's a fun read and you can't help but learn. For example, she describes the savants' discoveries while stuck in desert sands. She puts discoveries in the context of the time and shows how some still apply, like Fourier's math work.
The only knock on the book, and it is minor, is that it lacks a map of the region. Readers should print one before starting the book.
The scientists' desire to understand what they were seeing and to map, catalogue, paint--and in some ways, dominate--this exotic place feels real. Though the cast of characters is large, and occasionally unwieldy, the book draws fine portraits of individuals, many of whom are worthy of their own biographies. And Mirage projects a sense of excitement about learning that is contagious.
Ms. Burleigh's depth of research on the subject was very good. She provides many detailed accounts and examples, taken from first hand journals, that provide the reader with first-hand accounts of a very trying period in French and Egyptian history.
For those interested in this period of colonial French history; interested in the Egyptian art, architecture and culture; and the practical application of 18th century science to the infancy of archaeology, this is a must read for you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thank you Nina Burleigh for writing the book. Unfortunately, there is one factual error that needs to be corrected on page 131 and elsewhere. Read morePublished 1 month ago by art lover
Several reviewers have panned this work.
I'm not hung up on the absolute historical correctness of all the boo-boo's Napoleon made in Egypt. Read more
Love Napoleon stuff. Loved this, in particular! Can't wait for next stay in Paris to ID the streets named after savants...Published 9 months ago by Walton M Chalmers
This book focuses on the scholars and scientists who went with Napoleon when he invaded Egypt. It has some historical merit. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mysterious Lady
Nina Burleigh did an outstanding job describing France's journey into Egypt at the beginning of the 19th century with Napoleon leading an army of 50,000 Frenchmen.Published 15 months ago by David
Excellent read, for anyone interested in the history, colonization and the first Europeans amazement of Egypt.Published 17 months ago by Kathleen Murphy-Azzouni
A book about the time the French were in Egypt and the scientists that went along with the army. Interesting bio's on engineers, inventors, historians and more. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Glenn D. Robinson
I'm interested in the archaeological side of Napoleon's expedition and having seen copies of the Description de l'Egypt I was interested in the men behind that. Read morePublished on May 24, 2013 by Teresa J