A History of Ancient Egypt
From the First Farmers to the Great PyramidBook - 2012
This extraordinary book draws on a lifetime of research and thought to tell one of the greatest of all human stories- how, over a thousand years and more a culture of semi- itinerant farmers created a rich, vivid, strange world that had its first culmination in the pharaoh Khufu building the Great Pyramid, one of the most astounding of all human-made landmarks.
John Romer immerses the reader in this fascinating world, showing how archaeological evidence has allowed this long vanished civilization to gradually re-appear from under the sand, and the changing interpretations to which its breathtaking but entirely enigmatic remains have been subjected. Deeply suspicious of the grand narratives fabricated by the Victorian pioneers and the revisions proposed by modern cultural theorists, Romer focuses instead on what these long-buried and highly idiosyncratic objects have to tell us in their own right, shorn of attempts to entangle them in globalising fantasies of savages, of ancient wars and merciless kings. The result is an engrossing detective story, as the reader becomes ever more engaged in how we have come to know what we do about the astounding achievements of Nile civilization - and where the record remains silent.
Romer's own intimate knowledge of Egypt's landscape is vividly present throughout the book, as is the sheer strangeness of a country without rainfall but richly fertile through the actions of a single, immense river. Whether he is writing about the smallest necklace bead or the most grandly elaborate royal tomb, John Romer conveys to the reader a remarkable sense of how to understand a people so like ourselves and yet in so many ways eerily different.