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.
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 CohenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved