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Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt Paperback – February 24, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; 2 edition (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061252751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061252754
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #712,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"One can only highly recommend the book." ---Natural History --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Barbara Mertz is a New York Times bestselling author who writes the popular Amelia Peabody mystery series under the pen name Elizabeth Peters and romantic suspense novels as Barbara Michaels. She was born and brought up in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. Named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar Awards in 1998, she lives in a historic farmhouse in western Maryland.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Overall, this is a worthwhile book for anyone interested in ancient Egypt.
Pierre Gauthier
One of my favorite mystery series of all time is Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Mertz/Barbara Michael's Amelia Peabody Mysteries.
Amazon Customer
She injects humor in her writing and her books are always entertaining and informative.
C. Bristol

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Asher on January 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful sequel to 'Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs', this book sets aside the well-scrutinized lives of famous pharoahs, and turns instead to the day-to-day life of the rest of Ancient Egypt. Much of the material is new to me, and I found it fascinating reading. Of course, Ms. Mertz could probably make the Boston Phonebook palatable; I would certainly read anything she chose to write. (I firmly believe she hangs out with Elizabeth Peters; Joan Hess occasionally dropping in to make a threesome..)
Enough fawning! Read this book! It's interesting! You can tell them I said so...
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By villa@excite.com on February 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this a while back and I must say, "jolly good writing," which of course is now my only expectation from Ms. Mertz/Peters/Michaels & any other pseudonyms she has chosen to go by.
As an aside, I was watching tv the other day and saw Ms. Mertz on an A&E Ancient Mysteries Special on Queen Maatkare Hatshepsut. That was Jolly Good too!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loved it. This book is actually a textbook, but it's the most interesting textbook I've ever read. It really gives you a "feel" for daily life in ancient Egypt.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on October 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
Barbara Mertz is also the real name of writers Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels. She has written 37 books in the popular Amelia Peabody series (Amelia is a Victorian Egyptologist and archaeologist) and 29 suspense books as Michaels. Mertz received her doctorate in Egyptology in 1952, and her first book published was Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs: a Popular History of Egyptology. Her first novel was published in 1966. This is the second edition of Black Land, Red Land, originally published in 1978.

This well-written and readable book is an excellent source of information on life in ancient Egypt. Mertz covers everything, including childhood, pets, women and queens, clothing, jewelry and cosmetics, towns and houses, education, magic, religion, science, medicine, mathematics, pyramid building, boats, mummification and tombs. All are fascinating, though my personal favorite is the chapter on painting and sculpture, and the Amarna period. The XVIII Dynasty has always fascinated me: the time of Queen Hatshepsut, Akhenaton, and Tutankhamon. It is difficult to imagine a kingdom and society that lasted for nearly 4,000 years; the U.S. is an infant in comparison. There is a chronology, map, notes, and a list of books for further reading. The line drawings and photographs enhance the text perfectly.

Readers of the Amelia Peabody and Vicky Bliss mysteries, anyone longing to travel to see the ancient wonders of Egypt, or anyone with an interest in archaeology, will love this book.

Armchair Interviews agrees.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of my favorite mystery series of all time is Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Mertz/Barbara Michael's Amelia Peabody Mysteries. When I first discovered it, I thought it was a lost treasure and I have savored every book since that first one. I also enjoy her romance/mystery books as Barbara Michaels.

I will be honest and say that when I first began reading the Amelia Peabody Mysteries some of the Egyptian discussions went a bit over my head. I found my Egyptian History to be sorely lacking, so when I discovered that Barbara Mertz/Elizabeth Peters wrote some non-fiction books about Egyptian History I was thrilled and I new it would be a good way to start learning a bit of information about one of my new favorite topics, Egypt.

Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphics is the first book she wrote and deals more with the Egyptian rulers and dynasties. Red Land, Black Land is the second one and deals more with the Egyptian people. It covers a wide variety of topics including rising children, pets, women's lives, clothing, jewelry, towns, houses, magic and religion, science and medicine, and painting and sculpture. It is extremely interesting and I found all of the topics engaging and concise. I believe that Barbara Mertz/Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels has such a rare gift she could make the history of sandpaper interesting. I have read some reviews where people felt that she expressed some of her own opinions and views too freely, but I thought that she did a good job about making known what other popular opinions are in the field even if she doesn't necessarily agree with them. As I have begun purchasing more books about Egyptian History, I am very glad that I started with these books that have provided me with excellent background essential information that makes reading more detailed involved books much easier.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Stegall on March 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wish that Dr. Mertz would write more non-fiction. Her Amelia Peabody mystery series, written under the nom de plume of Elizabeth Peters, is harmless entertainment. But her books on ancient Egypt are sharp, witty, well-researched and accessible. She brings to the sometimes dry subject matter a lively style and easy competence; it's like being taken on a tour of the ancient land of Egypt by an old and knowledgeable friend. She tells us about the everyday life of farmers, scribes, warriors, kings and commoners, with pithy comments on their art, furniture, clothing and diet. It is a comprehensive and interesting introduction to Egypt, the Egyptians, and Egyptology. Too many books aimed at laymen on this topic dwell overmuch on tombs and mummies and kings; Dr. Mertz' summation of the daily routines of quite ordinary Egyptians brings them vividly to life. The people of the Black Land (their name for Egypt) come alive as quite approachable human beings, whose lives, diets, and attitudes are much more familiar than the lives of, say, medieval European peasants. The Egyptians, by all accounts, loved life so much, and lived such pleasant lives, that their idea of the afterlife was merely a continuation of this one. From the smallest detail of a child's toy to the grand marvel of the Great Pyramid, their attention to every facet of daily life, their excellent faculty for observation, and their quick wits shine through in this story of their lives. This is a book every lover of Egypt should have on the shelf.

Also recommended: Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt
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