256 pages, Oxford University Press, ISBN-13: 978-0195219524
Ancient Egypt edited by David P. Silverman is a very thorough book that delves deep into the entire history of Egypt, starting with their earliest history as a nation and going through all of the aspects of their unique culture – all 4000+ years of it – with special sections on religious belief and the importance of said belief in the afterlife, their language, (especially their written language, both hieroglyphs and demotic which is more like short hand and almost looks like our cursive writing...much easier and simpler than hieroglyphs!), mathematics, astronomy, medicine, the building of the pyramids, the dynasties…every aspect is thoroughly discussed by a different expert in the field of Egyptology. Each of the fifteen chapters has been written by a different specialist in the field of Egyptology (helpfully, their credentials are listed in the dust jacket cover) and consist of a variety of professors, university and museum curators. Aside from the obvious wealth of knowledge, every single page has beautiful photographs and illustrations of the best Egyptian artwork, tomb painting, statuary, jewelry, etc. to illustrate what is being discussed. This may be the one book on ancient Egypt to have if you have to have just one. However, Ancient Egypt is NOT just a pretty coffee table book of the typical type, with more photographs than writing and little or no explanation of what you're seeing; it is a work of scholarship that uses the selected illustrations to supplement and explain the pictures, rather than the other way ‘round. Highly accessible and readable – there’s even a glossary at the end and an honest-to-God useful index – this work is useful for the interested amateur (like myself) or someone already involved in the study of ancient Egypt.