Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ten Books +1 for Summer or Winter Days

As usual I find myself in the middle of a hot summer with little energy to do much except read and would suggest these eleven books are likely to not only pass time but to inspire the thoughts of the reader back into days of drifting sand and elegance on the Nile.

10. Egypt by H.H. Powers
      This 1924 guide book is written by a gentleman with all the graciousness a cynic could muster, a cynic however with a good sense of Egyptian art. The travel to Cairo and down the Nile is met with a lingering disdain of mankind and a slightly quirky way at viewing the sites. I would have put this book higher on this list except it may be difficult for readers to find.

9. Pyramids and Progress
    With this c1900 book the author takes the reader on an elegant journey around Egypt including the meeting of some of the eras great Egyptologists especially Sir Flinders Petrie who's good graces opened the door to worthy events and places of the day for the author. This book would also be higher on the list except it will be hard to find.

8. Jewels of the Pharaohs
    This is the late Cyril Aldred's 1978 view into the Pharaonic tradition of royal jewels created for the king and elite. Here the author has created a short book with half the volume devoted to coloured pictures of the best of ancient Egyptian jewelry. 

7. Ancient Lives by John Romer
   Ancient Lives will not be an easy book to enter as it took me a few chapters in before I was hooked by one of the finest telling of ancient lives of a privileged class of artisans from the ancient village of the royal tomb builders. The book is composed with the thousands of documents found at that site and displaying all the ancient villagers talents, trials, and responsibilities they possessed to the living and the dead.

6. The Life and Times of Akhnaton
    This classic publication by the late Arthur Weigall whom excavated a famous tomb, and was present in the Valley of kings during important discoveries at the beginning of the last century and is a must read for anyone interested in the these discoveries. Especially impressive is the authors descriptions of the activities which took place in Valley of kings tomb 55 in ancient times.

5. X-raying the Pharaohs
   This short book is based on a project in the 1970's to X-ray all the royal mummies and virtually every other mummy in the Cairo Museum. The book is filled with many of the finds produced by the X-rays including the position of King Amenhotep I's arms and a bead girdle around the kings waist.

4. Akhenaten and Nefertiti
    This is the second book on this list for the late Cyril Aldred who writes here about the heretic and his beautiful queen Nefertiti. This is not a story as much as it is an examination of 175 surviving works of art of the Amarna period in various museums.

3. Archaic Egypt
    The late Egyptologist Walter Emery had the experience of some of the great finds of Egypt's shadowy Archaic period at the beginning of dynastic history. The volume is filled with exceptional black and white pictures that clearly demonstrate the authors words and remarkable discoveries.

2. Unwrapping a Mummy
    This marvelous short book is on the discovery of the remains of a notable priest who's mummy was discovered a century ago at Deir el Bahri. Unfortunately the priests mummy deteriorated so much so that it was decided to unwrap him, this represents one of the last times in modern history that an Egyptian mummy was unwrapped.

1. Ancient Egypt The Great Discoveries
    I loved the format of the book which present the great archaeological finds from ancient Egypt according to their date of discovery. The book is uncomplicated and filled with lots of coloured pictures including some finds which may be new to the reader.

Tutankhamen: The Untold Story
     This is the late Thomas Hoving's 1978 best seller of an unbeleivable tale of Tutankhamun's treasures and the covetous nature of the excavation of the boy kings tomb. The artifacts from Tutankhamun's tomb were kept together for Egypt's national collection in Cairo but did a number of them end up outside Egypt?

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