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Early Civilizations of the Old World: The Formative Histories of Egypt, The Levant, Mesopotamia, India and China Hardcover – April 16, 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
Luckily, Maisels is an extremely clear writer who has a lot of good ideas. The book allows you to see inside the head of someone who has studied the development of near eastern civilisation for some years. He has a good grasp of varied topics, including geology and basic economics, and this helps his analysis. What he aims to do in the book is to go back to the very earliest farming communities and then trace forward, through details of key archaeological sites, to the beginnings of civilisation for Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China (the classic 'Old World' civilisations).
What the book won't do is really answer what, ultimately, were the causes of civilisation. In fact, the book has a stream of consciousness feel about it as if he is writing on autopilot, getting everything down that he hasn't explicitly said in earlier works of his and dealing piecemeal with individual agreements and disagreements with other archaeologists. This is frustrating as it doesn't end up feeling like an argument - rather as a man having an argument.
But perhaps my major criticism is that this is a man who likes his words too much. He uses them to describe things at length when a series of carefully put together diagrams and drawings would have done better. The illustrations in the book appear largely to have been cribbed from other works and are not always edited to suit the text.Read more ›