Review: The History of Ancient Egypt, Bob Brier

Rating: 4 out of 5

I have found Ancient Egypt interesting for a long while and yet I had not picked up a single book or title to investigate it further. This is partially because I had not had the chance, but also due to it being very difficult to figure out what would adequately cover such a period — three thousand years after all. That being said, this installation ended up being my choice and I don’t regret it.

Yet, there are things which could have been done better. Mr Brier continuously slips in some phrases he really likes — and which, therefore, after about the fiftieth time these are mentioned are really really annoying. Also, some of the really basic facts are not described though others are: this goes into the line of questions of whether a “dynasty” has the same meaning there as we would expect it, etc.

At the same time, Mr Brier is clearly at the forefront of present research and that made it interesting to observe. I also appreciated the focus — on historical figures over dates. We learn about quite a few different personalities though of course the veil of forty centuries hangs over many of them. Overall, this person-based approach makes it a look at Egyptian history that one can go along with.

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