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Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt | [Barbara Mertz]

Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt

In this updated version of the classic of popular Egyptology, Barbara Mertz combines her doctorate in Egyptology at the famed Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago with a life-long enthusiasm for ancient Egypt. Her love of the subject is contagious and makes her the perfect guide to ancient Egypt for the student, the layman, and those who plan to visit or have visited the Nile Valley.
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Publisher's Summary

In this updated version of the classic of popular Egyptology, Barbara Mertz combines her doctorate in Egyptology at the famed Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago with a life-long enthusiasm for ancient Egypt. Her love of the subject is contagious and makes her the perfect guide to ancient Egypt for the student, the layman, and those who plan to visit or have visited the Nile Valley.

©2007 MPM Manor, Inc.; (P)2007 Tantor

What Members Say

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3.8 (303 )
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4.2 (140 )
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  •  
    Mike From Mesa 03-24-13 Member Since 2003

    MikeFromMesa

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    "Not the book I expected."

    The title of this book - Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs – led me to think it was about the various temples constructed in Egypt, how they were built, how they were used, how the pyramids were built, what current scholarship believed to be the purpose of the various interior spaces and, perhaps, a description of Jean Francois Champollion's successful efforts to decipher the hieroglyphs. Instead what I found was an overview of the thirty or so Egyptian dynasties and, along with that, a brief history of Egypt.

    I don't want to be misunderstood. The information provided is interesting and well presented. The overview of the Egyptian dynasties was informative and Ms Mertz's explanation of what is known and, perhaps more importantly, what is not known and why it is not know, was very helpful to me as a casual reader. I found the competing ideas as to what happened and why to be of great interest. Still, the book did not address those questions which the title led me to believe were the contents of the book.

    Ms Raver's narration is superb and the content both interesting and, at times, witty. However, after finishing the book, I am left with almost all of the questions I had when I bought the book – what does current scholarship say about the interior rooms of the pyramids? How were the tombs discovered? What is the history of the archeological efforts in Egypt? How were the hieroglyphs deciphered (yes, I know about the Rosetta Stone, but it would have been nice to have some information on the effort and process itself)? Who were the main Egyptians involved in the design and building of the pyramids? What processes were used in the construction? What efforts were made to protect those buried from tomb robbers? Why did those efforts fail so badly? And many more.

    Given that this book did not cover what the title implied I felt compelled to give it no more than 3 stars. However the narration was so good that I decided that 3 12/ stars would be better. Since I cannot give it what I would like I settled on 4 stars. This is, I fear, too much.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JoAnn 04-14-13
    JoAnn 04-14-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Ok I guess"

    I got this book based on other recommendations. I love to listen to history and wanted to like this based on what I had read from other reviewers. While it does have some interesting parts, it just becomes too cute by far sometimes. The attempt at humor gets old. I would have preferred a little more history and little less author's opinion.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dacostri 03-19-13
    dacostri 03-19-13 Member Since 2010
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    "A complete A to Z of every Egyptian Dynasty"

    I had the pleasure of travelling through Egypt and this book was able to fill in some gaps. The narrator is excellent and Barbara Mertz is a master story-teller. She is able to mix facts with fiction and humour, which is the perfect combination to keep one listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher New York, NY, United States 03-12-13
    Christopher New York, NY, United States 03-12-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Love it"
    If you could sum up Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs in three words, what would they be?

    You would think the narrator had written the material herself for she is so lively and in tune with the text. She did such a good job of telling the story I kept falling asleep before the chapter ended (I listen in bed before sleeping) and I mean that glowingly. It is like being told secrets by an eccentric aunt who loves her field and who has a firm foundation in what is fact and what is guess-work and is always on point to differentiate between the two. I love reading about ancient Greece and Rome but never yet ventured into Egyptian territory and I am glad I listened to the other reviewers. I just downloaded another book by this author/narrator pairing which I can not wait to start!


    What about Lorna Raver’s performance did you like?

    Ecitement, understanding and pace. This could have all been read so dryly. Fantastic job. Best yet I've heard in the history genre.


    Any additional comments?

    Get it - you won't regret it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew 01-15-13
    Matthew 01-15-13
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    "Fun, fun, fun"

    I'd love to meet Barbara Mertz someday. You fall in love with her personality in this book. And Lorna Raver was just the perfect choice for the tone of this lovely book. Great listening, very entertaining, and a fun topic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John hendersonville, TN, USA 11-15-08
    John hendersonville, TN, USA 11-15-08 Member Since 2008
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    "A joy to read (hear)"

    More interesting than the subject matter is the author's peculiar style. I absolutely enjoyed every minute of the reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diver Mike Houston, Texas 01-06-08
    Diver Mike Houston, Texas 01-06-08 Member Since 2006
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    "A hard subject well done"

    Although the subject can be dry, Mertz does a very nice job of injecting humor, folklore, and her own interesting opinions. I'm on my way to Egypt and glad I listened to this first. The narrator is quite good.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ovais Bedford, IN, United States 02-14-13
    Ovais Bedford, IN, United States 02-14-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Makes history fun."
    Any additional comments?

    Some knowledge of Egyptian history would be useful to get the most out of this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    laurie SARASOTA, FL, United States 03-10-13
    laurie SARASOTA, FL, United States 03-10-13 Member Since 2011

    I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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    "Too snarky for me"

    I didn't finish this book. The content was well organized and informative, but its tone ruined it for me. It was sarcastic and snide. The narrator delivered it as the writing demanded, but I could only imagine her smirking and rolling her eyes as she conveyed the author's information, observations, and opinions.

    I've always been interested in ancient Egypt, and I wish this had been written and spoken in an intelligent, forthright manner.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd jenkintown, PA, United States 09-02-10
    Todd jenkintown, PA, United States 09-02-10
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    "disappointed in my fellow reviewers."

    Is it just me? I could only take 3 hours of this and had to quit. What are the other reviewers getting out of this disjointed/dated text. The author is ALL over the place, tangent after tangent. Stephen Ambrose, David McCullough, Simon Winchester, Nathaniel Philbrick- I have several books by each of the authors and learn alot about the subjects of their particular books. I know very little about ancient Egypt and this book gave me zero more information, but I did get the author's biased views on many subjects NOT related to ancient Egypt. AND the narrator was just bad. Her toned of voice just grated on me. How could someone give this book a 5 star( and many reviewers did!!)?? Sorry, I just don't get it.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
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