Ancient Egypt Reviews | January 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred review Kemp, Barry. The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti: Amarna and Its People. Thames and Hudson. 2012. 320p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500051733. $45. HIST

Kemp (Egyptology, Univ. of Cambridge; Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization) has devoted decades of his distinguished career to the Egypt Exploration Society’s excavations at the site of Amarna in Middle Egypt. In this study he uses the archaeological evidence to bring to life the 14th-century B.C.E. city built in the desert wilderness by the heretic pharaoh, Akhenaten, to be his capital, and for the most part abandoned soon after his death. Monumental and residential architecture, the quality of life for royal and non-royal residents, and the spiritual life of the city are among the topics explored. Competing theories about this controversial period are discussed, such as the identity of the ephemeral King Smenkhkare. VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone fascinated by ancient Egyptian civilization and, in particular, those with an avid interest in Akhenaten, his consort Nefertiti, and the Amarna revolution. Kemp has masterfully accomplished for the later part of Akhenaten’s reign what Donald B. Redford did for its inception in Akhenaten: The Heretic King (1984), based on his excavations at East Karnak.—Edward K. Werner, St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Pierce, FL

Library Journal Reviews starred review Shaw, Garry. The Pharaoh: Life at Court and on Campaign. Thames and Hudson. 2012. 224p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500051740. $39.95. HIST

Shaw (Egypt Exploration Society) has devoted most of his research to the daily lives of the pharaohs, and it is his intention to put a human face on the god-kings of ancient Egypt. The text here is readily accessible to the nonspecialist, richly illustrated, mostly in color, and covers the span of Egypt’s history from Menes, who first united the country, to the Roman emperor Diocletian. The reader is first introduced to the mythological and archaeological origins of Egyptian kingship. A historical overview follows. Subsequent chapters explore “Becoming Pharaoh,” “Being Pharaoh,” “Pharaohs on Campaign,” highlighting the Battle of Kadesh, “Royal Cities” founded by certain dynasties, “Pharaohs in Death,” and “The Last Pharaohs” of the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. Among the topics discussed are royal succession, daily court and cultic activities, health, and pharaonic pets. A “Brief Lives” section provides a list of kings with biographical sketches of the better-known monarchs. VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the civilization of ancient Egypt and as a complement to Aidan Dodson and Dyan Hilton’s comprehensive The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt (2010).—Edward K. Werner, St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Pierce, FL