Review: 1177 B.C., Eric Cline

Rating: 2 out of 5

“This complex process had many causes that are quite difficult to describe because of how complex they are.”

That is a quick summary (well, quotation of a particularly bad angle) of Mr Cline’s ‘1177 B.C.’ Not glorious; rather interminable. Not academic enough to be a work of academic history or historical literature review (which, really, it was in the majority); not well-written enough to be a work of narrative history (also with too many useless mentions). It would be easy to go away with the notion that I disliked this book, and that would be correct.

The early history of Mediterranean civilisations is an interesting story, a complex intertwined narration of power and trade, but this book made a farce out of it. Further, some crucial differences of opinion between various historical cliques could have been explained better to make the reader understand these options from the beginning (and why they existed).

The summary began by saying that there are many causes for the collapse of the Late Bronze Age. Yes, I think I could have said that before I started the book… There is some good in this, but one should bring a loupe to find it.

Any saving graces? Few. I liked some of the info on Cyprus as I think it gets overlooked in the typical stories of Egypt-Hittite struggles. I liked the inclusion of Šutruk-Nahhunte for whom I am entirely impartial because of “The Emperor’s Club”.

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