From Library Journal
Danish scholar Larsen has written a vivid narrative about the lives and activities of the creators of Assyrian archaeology. A prevailing preoccupation with biblical sites by 19th-century Europeans inspired a group of adventurous individuals, beginning in the 1840s, to excavate the ancient cities of the Middle East. The central character of this narrative is a young English Romantic, Austen Henry Layard, who becomes obsessed with the idea of uncovering the ruins of Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrians. As Layard was preparing his dig at a site he believed to be Nineveh, an English officer in the area, Henry Rawlinson, was deciphering cuneiform, the writing system of the Assyrians. Layard and Rawlinson struck up one of the most productive archaeological partnerships in history, destined to uncover the remains of an ancient civilization and, by the decipherment of cuneiform, give it back its voice. Larsen's fascinating study should appeal to anyone with an interest in archaeology and ancient history. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.?Robert J. Andrews, Duluth P.L., Minn.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Danish Scholar Larsen has written a vivid narrative about the lives and activities of the creators of Assyrian archaeology....Larsen's fascinating study should appeal to anyone with an interest in archaeology and ancient history.Library Journal, 11/15/96
. . . the story combines always engaging historical backdrops, the suspense and satisfaction of detecting solutions to vast and complex puzzles, flamboyant personalities devoting their lives to their quests and prevailing over adversity and insouciance, glittering incidental characters, and an almost magical triumph, bringing a civilization back from oblivion into history, and causing words that had disappeared from memory for thousands of years to be read again.Matthew W. Stolper, University
This book is an important addition to any Assyriological library, but it is also of great significance to anyone interested in the history of archaeology and of museums, or in Victorian intellectual history.-Piotr Michalowski, AJA
Mogens Trolle Larsen has written a masterpiece! His account of explorations in Assyria reads like a novel, so hard is it to put down. But a novel it is not. Deeply informed by yeas of reading in unpublished letters, diaries, and reports, he has the details to give vivid body to his narrative with extensive quotations from the orgininal players in their own words - noble, patriotic, self-serving, or deceitful...I consider this one of the very best books on the ancient Near East to appear in many years. It is sure to become a classic..Robert D. Biggs, University of Chicago, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, April 2000.