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The Secret of the Great Pyramid: How One Man's Obsession Led to the Solution of Ancient Egypt's Greatest Mystery Kindle Edition
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B001H1FZWE
- Publisher : HarperCollins e-books; Illustrated edition (October 1, 2008)
- Publication date : October 1, 2008
- Language : English
- File size : 3116 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 224 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #591,232 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Bottom Line: Good content - poor print quality.
The book does not cover all the aspects of the grand gallery counterweight idea. How did the Egyptians get the counterweights back up? What is the advantage of the counterweights if you have to pull them back up again after dropping them? If they drop the weights the length of the grand gallery and pull a stone up an external ramp that same length then what is the gain? The weights have to be pulled back up a 50 degree slope in the grand gallery while the big stone is moving up a much smaller slope on the outside ramp. Why not just pull the stone up the outside ramp? Unless there is a mechanical advantage in use for pulling the weights back up the grand gallery ramp (which could not be used on the other larger stone for some reason) I see no gain in constructing a counterweight mechanism in the grand gallery. Even if some gain could be had by constructing a grand gallery counterweight, would it be worth the effort that would have to be expended building the grand gallery mechanism?
The grand gallery may make sense if a large A frame was put inside it and moved backward each time the stone was pulled up through leverage. In other words, the bottom of the A frame would be placed onto the benches of the grand gallery. A rope would be put over the top of the A frame and around the large stone sitting on the external ramp. The A frame would sit forward in the grand gallery and be wedged at the bottom. Then the rope pullers would pull the A frame back and pull the stone up the ramp. Then the A frame would be repositioned inside the grand gallery and wedged at the bottom again and the pullers would once more pull the stone up by using the leverage on the A frame. Please don't get me wrong, I am not an engineer and I am sure this was not the way it was done. My point is at least there would be a mechanical advantage to using a grand galley mechanism that might offset the trouble it would take to build it. Mr. Houdin's idea does not seem to give that advantage.
Unfortunately, the entire internal ramp and grand gallery theory could have been covered, and was covered, in about 30 to 40 pages. The rest of the book is filler. So we hear about how hard it is to produce a IMAX program, how a pyramid boat was reconstructed, Mr. Houdin's parents in the Ivory Coast etc. Very uninteresting, at least to me.
Also, the book includes a lot of speculation that is not identified as speculation. How the architect Hemienu thought about the design process cannot be known (for example) p. 60 et al.
I did like the miscellaneous stories telling us how the Egyptian experts reached certain conclusions about when and who constructed certain pyramids or identified other monuments or events. For example, graffiti from 1000 years after the construction of a pyramid is taken as proof for when the pyramid was built and by whom. Even if the graffiti is genuine, how can we be sure the wall writer knew who constructed the monument? Many books were written right after WWII that were not accurate on many important facts. What happened on the eastern front was totally distorted, for example. If we missed the mark on an event which was less than 20 years old at the time the books were written, how far off can a person be 1000 years after an event?
I really like Mr. Houdin's theories, but much more time should have been spent on the theories, the challenges to them, and the answers to those challenges.
The book provides more information than just the narrow topic suggests, however. It is an overview of pyramid construction in general and some of the approaches used in figuring out how they were built. Historical information is provided in many chapters to provide the reader a framework for the time of the pyramids, and the book switches between the present (the actual 'solving' of the great pyramids construction) and the past (describing times as they would have been in ancient Egypt).
It is a quick read and essentially an introduction. I wouldn't recommend it for detailed scholarship - I'm sure there are more suitable journal articles on the topic. But it is fun and exciting to imagine, and made me hope some more Egyptology books would make it to my reading list.
Top reviews from other countries
I couldn't put it down.