The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt

Random. Mar. 2011. c.656p. photogs. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780553805536. $35. HIST
For decades introductory courses on ancient Egypt have featured Alan Gardiner's Egypt of the Pharaohs and John A. Wilson's The Culture of Ancient Egypt. Wilkinson (development director & fellow, Clare Coll., Univ. of Cambridge) now provides a comprehensive survey incorporating the most recent discoveries and theories. Unlike his predecessors, Wilkinson does not end with the fall of the last native Egyptian dynasty but includes a fascinating study of the Ptolemaic period. The narrative is so engrossing that lay readers will find it hard to put down, while those who want more will find extensive endnotes that further explore topics, along with citations. The author has opted to use forms "most closely approximating the original usage" for the names of ancient sites (exceptions include Memphis and Thebes.) Even though the modern name is given in parenthesis after the first usage, this can confuse the nonspecialist. A place name equivalency table or cross-referenced index would have helped.
VERDICT Despite that reservation, this book will serve as a standard for general readers and college students alike who seek to be immersed in the 3000-year pageant of Egyptian civilization. Highly recommended for Egyptophiles and all public and academic libraries.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing