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Mountains of the Pharaohs: The Untold Story of the Pyramid Builders Hardcover – August 22, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Religion; 1st edition (August 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385503059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385503051
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Some 4,000 years ago, the pharaohs of the Old Kingdom began to build gigantic monuments to themselves in Giza, along the Nile River. Hawass—secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities and one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people—has painstakingly put together the story of these immense structures and the people who built them. Using the latest archeological insight and stitching the tale together with his brief fictionalized forays into the past, Hawass explores the interwoven family, clan and societal organizations that made up ancient Egyptian culture. He writes that the pharaohs, initially worshippers of the sun and eventually made sun gods themselves, began constructing these giant tombs as soon as they ascended to the throne. Hawass imagines Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid, finding comfort in thinking that "[h]is pyramid was rising rapidly, reaching to the sky and ensuring his eternal life as a god...." Throughout, Hawass weaves accounts of the ancient Egyptians with current excavations of the ruins. For general readers with no abiding interest in ancient Egypt, this is tough sledding at times. Without much narrative punch, Hawass writes seemingly endless strings of information in lackluster prose. But for Egyptophiles, this will be must reading. 8 pages of color photos. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Hawass, an Egyptologist, divides this lucid and exhaustively documented book into five parts: "The Dawn of 4th Dynasty," "The Reign of the Sun God," "The Heirs of Khufu," "The Pyramid Builders at Giza," and "The End of an Era." This final segment deals with such material as the reign of Khentkawes, the dawn of the Fifth Dynasty, and the abandonment of Giza. Hawass points out that the Great Pyramid of Khufu is the most famous monument in the world, and it has been visited, measured, photographed, and studied by scholars for centuries. There are countless theories as to its construction and function. He notes that Giza was the heart of Egypt for three generations, and it was here that the royal government sat and where the court of the king spent much of its time. With 24 black-and-white illustrations, this account is not only a history of the pyramids but also a compelling account of the powerful kings of ancient Egypt. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sahra Badou on July 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book if you want to learn about the history of the Pharaohs and the pyramid builders. The author, Zahi Hawass, is secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities and one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people.

Hawass writes that the pharaohs, initially worshippers of the sun and eventually made sun gods themselves, began constructing these pyramids (which were giant tombs) as soon as they ascended to the throne.

There are some really nice facts in the book that I did not know:

(a) The Sphinx originally had a beard, and fragments of it are in a museum. It was feared that the head of the Sphinx might fall off, and that the beard had to be restored in order to offer support to the head. But later scientific investigations showed that in fact the head and neck of the Sphinx were the sturdiest parts of the Sphinx. A decision was then taken not to restore the Sphinx's beard!

(b) Contrary to popular belief, the pyramids were not built by slaves. The burial ground of the pyramid builders was found in the 80's, and it showed that they were common people who ate meat and fish (it was once thought that only the elite ate meat), and took a day off every ten days.

(c) Not all Pharaohs were cruel and unjust. Some showed caring to their people, and treated males and females equally.

(d) The pyramids were built about 4,000 years ago (the erroneous and popular belief is that they were built over 10,000 years ago). They were not built by extraterrestrials or by the mythical inhabitants of Atlantis.

(e) Hawass imagines Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid, finding comfort in thinking that "[h]is pyramid was rising rapidly, reaching to the sky and ensuring his eternal life as a god....
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pierre Gauthier on August 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The author presents very up to date information and theories regarding the history of the Giza pyramids.

His approach is refreshingly candid and he does not hesitate to refer to the degree of uncertainty related to what he brings up.

In the audio book version, however, the narrator sounds as if he either does not understand fully what he is talking about or does not care about it. His e-nun-ci-a-tion is exaggerated and his tone is often incredibly dull.

The printed version is certainly preferable and will certainly be worthwhile to anyone interested in Ancient Egypt.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marty on November 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a must for anyone who is interested in the pyramids and the people who build them - a rare glimpse into the life of everyday people, not just the pharoahs.
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By Sharon Chaney on March 30, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Product arrived as promised and in excellent condition.
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By Karen Lutes on February 23, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
good
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bill on January 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I pretty much anything written by Zahi Hawass. This book was no disappointment. The book is well-written and very well illustrated.
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