Customer Reviews: Pyramid
4-month subscription Amazon Fashion nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Electronics Holiday Gift Guide Starting at $39.99 Subscribe & Save Cozy Knits Book 2 or More Hours of House Cleaning on Amazon fall24 fall24 fall24  All-New Echo Dot Introducing new colors All-New Kindle for Kids Edition Frank Sinatra Shop Cycling on Amazon Save on select ClickTight convertible car seats

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:$8.73+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on July 20, 1999
This is a fabulous book for anyone looking to learn more about the pyramids of Ancient Egypt without the burden of scholar-like vocabulary and disturbing depth. But at the same time the book conveys the mysteries of the pyramids with a keen intellect of the topic. The author knows his topic but writes his book so anyone can enjoy the knowledge and enlightenment a deeper understanding of the past can provide.
0Comment| 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 31, 2001
Who hasn't wondered how the Great Pyramids came to be? In this stunningly illustrated, richly detailed book, David Macaulay skillfully shows one way they could have been built. I had ordered the book for our family's study of ancient Egypt, based on a recommendation in The Greenleaf Guide to Ancient Egypt, which raved about it. I was not disappointed. In fact, I was stunned at the detail and care of the drawings and fascinated by the accounts. Although the long descriptions were daunting for my then-first grader, the illustrations caught her eye, and her older siblings dug into it with enthusiasm.
0Comment| 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 6, 2001
David MacAulty's book discusses and illustrates "one method" by which the pyramids of Egypt may have been built, and follows the construction step by step. His pen and ink drawings are excellent. The book may have been written for children (ages 9 and older) but, I enjoyed the book. I highly recommend it for adults and children with an interest in the pyramids. My eight year old son was fascinated by the book. Hopefully, his interest in Egyptology has been sparked by this fine book. I tend to disagree with the author when he refers to the pyramids as tombs. No bodies have been found within the pyramids. Its more likely the pyramids were used as structures for initiation ceremonies. Although, not specifically stated the entire book, except for a brief discussion of the Queen's pyramid and the mummification process, is devoted to the Great Pyramid of Khufu. The brief discussion of the mummification process is just the right amount of information for a child's book.
0Comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 5, 1999
Who built the pyramids of the Giza Plateau...and why? How were the two million massive stone blocks quarried and set into place? David MacAulay answers these questions and more in a most historically accurate and logically developed book. Written for children, MacAulay takes the reader through each intricate step of the pyramid's construction from its conception on papyrus to its final completion. Leaving no stone unturned, PYRAMID also provides intriguing information on the daily lives of the Ancient Egyptians: how they viewed life and death, and what God and the afterlife meant to them. Each page is filled with sprawling pen and ink drawings which clearly illustrate their clever engineering techniques. PYRAMID is a simply written but vastly informative and enjoyable book.
0Comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 15, 2004
With exquisitely detailed black-line drawings, this book shows how the pyramids in Egypt may have been constructed. A two-page introduction gives some background of life in Egypt, including an overview of Egyptian spiritual beliefs and practices, especially those related to death and dying. The introduction makes clear that this book is based on an imaginary pharaoh and an imaginary pyramid and that there are differences of opinion about the construction process the Egyptians used.

After the brief introduction, the illustrations dominate, comprising as much as 80% of the pages. Almost like time-lapse photography, readers can see the pyramid grow in vast landscapes, giving children a good sense of the scale of the pyramids, where people are just specks dotting the sides of the massive structure. In addition to these landscapes, Macaulay includes background on the people who designed and built their pyramids and their techniques with illustrations of the different workers and their tools, as well as architectural floor plans and cutaway diagrams.

The text is difficult and presents challenges with its vocabulary and syntax as well as its concepts. A one-page glossary of Egyptian and architectural terms provides some assistance. However, the account of how the priest uses the stars to locate true north is a difficult concept to comprehend; the textual and pictorial explanations may not be sufficient for any but advanced readers.

Though the text and many of the concepts are demanding, young readers will be carried along by the drawings that truly offer a step-by-step guide to how the pyramids were built. The distant and perhaps "quaint"-seeming aspects of Egyptian beliefs and practices are nicely contrasted with their highly advanced, ingenious construction techniques. Children familiar with some aspects of ancient Egypt will perhaps be able to see the "bigger picture" and gain insight and appreciation into the culture of the ancient Egyptians. Younger children will enjoy following the process and watching the pyramid grow from page to page, while older children interested in the "how's" behind history will appreciate this novel approach to learning about ancient Egypt.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 7, 2011
I hate to say anything negative about a book and author who are so well esteemed. Indeed, Macaulay is an amazing artist and engineer, and the quality of the book is very high. But, this was my first exposure to his work, and it just wasn't what I expected after seeing his books come up in every homeschooling catalog I have.

I just couldn't get my younger kids (8, 7, 6, 4) into it. We bought the book as a staple for our unit on Ancient Egypt, and my boys in particular were really excited to learn about the pyramids. But this book didn't make it into our favorites. The book suffers from a couple main problems: one, it is black and white. For an adult, the detailed black and white ink is fabulous and easy to appreciate. Not so much for a kid. Page after page of black and white of the same subject matter only fascinated the most scientific of my kids.

Secondly, the length of the book makes it more appealing to upper elementary rather than lower elementary. My kindergartner really wanted me to sit down with him and this book when he first saw it. But I'd lost him by about ten pages in. Similarly, the text is hard to get into. It's dry. On some pages, there are only a sentence or two which the kids could handle while they were looking carefully at the drawings. But on others, there are larger and more complex paragraphs which even my third grader struggled with, in addition to the schematics.

In conclusion, this is a fabulous work on the subject but much more appealing to an adult. I know that many educators don't think resources should be dumbed down, but there is an art to making something age-appropriate and grooming younger ages to become more curious. I don't think this book extends far enough in this direction. It will only appeal to kids that already appreciate the subject somewhat, or have some amount of engineering understanding already. Or kids over third grade age. It's not that we didn't enjoy it at all... it's just more of a library rent than a purchase. Or a "feel good on the shelf" resource.
33 comments| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 8, 2004
Though this was written nearly thirty years ago, this is still one of the best introductions to the building of the pyramids out there, as he distills the basics down to the bare minimum without sacrificing much detail. The drawings, too, are superb, though the one page showing the various bald-headed workers made me think of Blue Man Group.
I do have some minor reservations, however, which are not necessarily Macaulay's fault (I am not going to go into alternative theories about how the pyramids were built, or speculation about the "real" purpose of the pyramids). One, to have built a pyramid of 2 million blocks in 30 years (working 5 months of the year) would have required that over 400 blocks be cut, finished, transported, and set into place EVERY DAY. Two, he doesn't state how the ramps were built so they could withstand the weight of so many tons of blocks day in and day out. And third, how was this enormous operation made to run so smoothly despite accidents and other problems that had to have occurred?
Despite my reservations, this is still a wonderful book to teach people, especially children, how such a massive undertaking was accomplished.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 25, 2008
`Pyramid` (1975) is Macaulay's third book. It shows the building of a hypothetical pyramid similar in size to Giza. Unfortunately Macaulay took on a difficult subject. There is still controversy about how exactly the pyramids were built. The 4-ramp model shown in the book is just one of many ideas, and not even proven to work. The latest theory is described in Khufu: The Secrets Behind the Building of the Great Pyramid, involving a series of internal and external ramps (see a BBC article about it in the note below). Given this, it's hard to know what else in the book is accurate, or conjecture. Macaulay is at his best when he demystifies the world around us, but in this case the pyramids really are a mystery, and so it leaves the impression of inaccuracy. However we can probably assume some of it is right (the tools for example). Like all Maccaulay books, it's an enjoyable and impressive journey through history. Just don't rely on it as a blueprint for building your own pyramid!
22 comments| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 28, 2016
In this book David Macaulay explains how Egyptian pyramids were constructed and although he has some fine pen and ink illustrations, they aren't as detailed or comprehensive as his other fine books like Mill or Castle.

First, the story seems just a little disjointed and jumps from one section to the next without much of a bridging narrative. Second, I'm not sure that some of the explanations are really geared for grade school students (although I'm sure that many will instantly grasp what Macaulay is explaining). For instance, though the explanation how the surveyors determined true north is perfectly logical and clear, it does require a passing acquaintance with the sidereal movement of stars in the sky.

There are a number of interesting facts in the book - how a newly constructed chamber would be filled with rubble and sand so workers and artist could finish the roof and ceiling and tops of columns (I wonder why they didn't bother with scaffolding).

I think what actually is missing is a definite story with characters that link the sections together. In Mill, it was the story of the Plimptons and the planning and construction of a water powered mill; in Castle, it was the story of Lord Kevin LeStrange and the planning and construction of a castle in Aberwyvern, Wales and the growth of a town around it.

Overall, this is not one of David Macaulay's best books but it does give pretty decent idea of how the great pyramids were constructed.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 5, 2015
There are lots of pyramid books around, many aimed at middle graders. The problem for many of them is that there is often a disconnect between the text and the illustrations. By that I mean that you get a lot of information about Egypt, Pharaohs and pyramid construction and you get a lot of very pretty pictures of Giza at sunset or of mummies, but you don't get it all put together in a how-to sort of way. That's where this book shines.

Macaulay starts with a single page of background that summarizes the role of the pharaoh in Egyptian society and culture, the place of ka and ba, and how that all led up to the construction of pyramids. It may be the most concise and yet informative pyramid page you'll ever read. But from there we switch to something more on the order of the most elegant IKEA assembly instructions ever drawn/written.

The text touches on all of the obvious construction steps and strategies, but there are some points and detailed bits that will be new to even experienced pyramid fans. (Example: the pyramid construction site was leveled by covering it with a network of inter-connected trenches. The trenches were filled with water, which acted as a level. After the water level was marked on the sides of the trenches the ground between the trenches was cut down to those marks and the trenches filled in to those marks. Pretty cool.)

This all works because the text matches up with the illustrations, and the drawings actually illustrate what the text is describing. With just a little imagination the whole process becomes fairly clear. And along with the construction description there is a running sub-commentary explaining why socially, spiritually and politically, these steps had to be followed in the way they were.

So, a lot gets accomplished in this sharp, interesting and well crafted book, and for anyone with even just a passing interest in pyramids, pharaohs, or just how stuff gets built, this is a nice find.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Need customer service? Click here