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The Pyramids: The Mystery, Culture, and Science of Egypt's Great Monuments Hardcover – October 7, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Director of the Egyptology Institute of Charles University in Prague and leader of the Czech excavations at Abusir's Fifth Dynasty pyramid field, Verner has assembled the first comprehensive study of Egypt's pyramids since the revised edition of the late I.E.S. Edwards's classic The Pyramids of Egypt and Ahmed Fakhry's The Pyramids (both o.p.). This completely revised English-language edition is based on the German translation of the original 1997 Czech publication. The organization of the authoritative text is chronological, tracing the cultural and architectural evolution of the Egyptian pyramids from the mastaba tombs of the Archaic Period, through the step pyramids of the Third Dynasty, to the "true pyramids" of the later Old Kingdom and the subsequent decline in their structure and size in later periods. "Pyramidology" and mystic lore are covered in a brief epilog titled "The Secrets of the Pyramids." In addition to a solid bibliography, useful appendixes include "Basic Dimensions of the Pyramids," "Egyptologists and Pyramid Scholars," a glossary, and a "Chronological List of Rulers and Dynasties." The illustrations are clear and directly related to the text. Recommended for all libraries. Edward K. Werner, St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Pierce, FL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Professor Verner of Prague's distinguished Charles University discusses current research into the pyramids of ancient Egypt. His book focuses on research of the last decade and excavations over the past 20 years. Verner divides his book into chapters according to pharaonic dynasty, spotlighting individual pharaohs' pyramids. He not only explains the layout of each pyramid but also presents various theories on how each pyramid was built and tells stories about the people that were buried there. The author's stated goal was to make discussions and research surrounding these gigantic ancient monuments accessible to the general public, and he certainly has succeeded. Julia Glynn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic; 1st edition (October 7, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802117031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802117038
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,755,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Holy Olio on November 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Verner notes that the name "sphinx" is our transliteration of the Greek transliteration of shesep-ankh or "living image". He also recounts how "[t]he ship Beatrice... in 1838, shipwrecked and sank between Malta and Spain." (p 246) Aboard was the sarcophagus from the Menkaure / Mycerinus pyramid (the smallest of the three large pyramids at Giza). That would be a salvage job for the ages, and a great way for a museum to add to its collection. I do however wonder if that's really where the ship went down. Some even dispute that the ship ever existed per se, or that it went down, or that it went down in that year, or that it had the sarcophagus onboard.

The author rejects the high age of the Great Sphinx that was proved by the water erosion -- a point on which most geologists (the overwhelming majority) who have studied the evidence agree. His rejection is on the flimsiest basis, especially since the Sphinx itself is not aligned with the so called cardinal points while most stuff at Giza is -- but that the also predynastic temple near the Sphinx has the same alignment. Verner insists that the consensus is that Khafre carved the Sphinx, but later writes "(Khufu?)" and nowhere that I saw mentions Stadelman's establishment that the Sphinx was probably carved by Khufu.

I read chunks of this book last night, and recommend it as a pretty good overview of the known pyramids, including those which barely survive (foundations only, or literary references with little else). The author also gives brief information about the pharaohs and others for whom many of these (surviving or not) were built.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By buen chapin on January 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
A warning to everyone interested in colored pictures. This book has NOT ONE single color picture, except for the cover pic. The theoretical content is great stuff, otherwise, I'm dissapointed. If your interested mainly in pictures, you better take a look at "The Valley of the Kings" and "Tuthankamum, the eternal splendor of the boy Pharaoh"
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. Martin on August 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am considering a trip to Egypt and wanted a book that gives an overview of archaeological sites in Egypt. This is a detailed and theoretical book about the many pyramids found all over Egypt. The author does try to write in a way to make it fairly readable to a lay person. But it is still heavy reading. It may be more that what some people are looking for... I read the beginning and ending chapters of the book, but only skimmed the middle. My eyes "glazed over", and much of the middle was just more fact and detail than I wanted to know. The beginning and ending chapters are more general about Egyptology. The book does contain many diagrams, photos (black and white), and illustrations that help the detailed info be more easy to visualize and understand.
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