Reviews - What do customers think about A History of Egypt: From the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest?
Hopelessly unaware of history Mar 9, 2005
The person who refers to himself as reader "July 8 2003" should stick to comic books and tabloids. He (or She) has no historical clue and was probably on drugs while reading Breasted.
To Call Tuthmosis III (who spread civilization into Asia among the savage Hittites) a mass murderer, displays the utmost ignorrance of the simplest facts of ancient history. The barbarians of Asia Minor raided cities, killed, maimed, raped and pillaged and it was the duty of any civilized King, from the Pharaohs down to the Romans, to restore order in the Empire and force civilization upon them.
I can understand our dislike for war in the 21st century; I am a pacifist myself. War is outdated like tooth extraction and limb amputation without anaesthesia, but 16 centuries before the birth of Christ life was different and thanks to Great rulers like Tuthmosis III, and Alexander the great, we can enjoy peace today.
For the love of God, read History from an historical standpoint not your own morality or else stick to watching Fox news.
Much Beloved Aug 2, 2003
Back when I first read Breasted's history it was already 60 years old. I was 14 and much enamored of this ancient culture that I knew mostly from horror movies and eerie museum displays. Cruising the library shelves I found this ponderous volume and dived into it. Starting a lifelong habit of always picking the heaviest book. Of course, the book was out of date then, and today it is more a document of the turn of the century mythology about ancient Egypt than it is anything that qualifies as 'history.'
And yet, in many ways it entirely changed the world of a fourteen year old child - whose horizons were suddenly broadened in a multitude of directions. Breasted bridges the gap between tedious academic history and popular and simpleminded glosses. He is always conscious that the facts he narrates are a telescopic look into a culture almost completely alien from what we are today. His simple, direct style has brought the old world alive for the curious for almost a century now.
If his thinking seems a bit naïve now, it is important to understand that there has been a wealth of discovery in the intervening years. And this book was one of the inspirations that fueled that pursuit of knowledge, drawing people's attention to the mysterious past, and inspiring countless readers to look further. Look elsewhere for accurate material, but come here to see ithe excitement in the archeologist's mind.
Hopelessly Outdated Jul 8, 2003
Yes, it is a pleasant, lightweight read, but contrary to some of the other reviews here, this book is not "somewhat" outdated - - it is completely outdated. Anyone who knows anything about Ancient Egypt can just look at the inaccurate information in some of these reviews and see how misinformed readers of this book will be -- for example Thuthmosis III (the accepted "modern" spelling is Thutmose from the Egyptian transliteration, more closely Djehutymose) was not 4'6" -- that is a measurement of his mummy, minus his detached feet and lower legs. He more likely was about 5'6" tall, a very respectable height for an ancient Egyptian. As for Thutmose III being a "hero," this is a man who, solely for profit, invaded foreign countries, killing, maiming and plundering, carrying goods and slaves back to Egypt, leaving countless impoverished widows and orphans in his wake. It is so sad to think that a mass murderer is anyone's definition of a "hero."
Fascinating (but maybe outdated) Mar 16, 2003
My copy is the Bantam 1964 reprint of the 1905 classic. Almost a hundred years old, this book still reads surprisingly easily. Whether it's out of date or not, I'm in no position to judge, not being an expert in this field. But I'd assume that a lot of archaeological discoveries must have been made in the last century to make this book somewhat obsolete.
Breasted was the first and foremost American Egyptologist, the founder of the prestigious Oriental Institute of Chicago (the premier archaeology academy in America - featured in Indiana Jones), and the first archaeologist elected to the National Academy of Sciences.(He was also a former President of the American Historical Association, and must have been the only person to have both honors.) I particularly like his opinions of Thuthmosis III, whose 3450th passing is today.
Two other books that may shed some light on the recent findings are "Egypt of the Pharaohs" by Sir Alan Gardiner and "The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt" edited by Ian Shaw.