From Herodotus's day to the present political upheavals, the steady flow of the Nile has been Egypt's heartbeat. It has shaped its geography, controlled its economy and moulded its civilisation. The same stretch of water which conveyed Pharaonic battleships, Ptolemaic grain ships, Roman troop-carriers and Victorian steamers today carries modern-day tourists past bankside settlements in which rural life - fishing, farming, flooding - continues much as it has for millennia.
At this most critical juncture in the country's history, foremost Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson takes us on a journey up the Nile, north from Lake Victoria, from Cataract to Cataract, past the Aswan Dam, to the delta. The country is a palimpsest, every age has left its trace: as we pass the Nilometer on the island of Elephantine which since the days of the Pharaohs has measured the height of Nile floodwaters to predict the following season's agricultural yield and set the parameters for the entire Egyptian economy, the wonders of Giza which bear the scars of assault by nineteenth-century archaeologists and the modern-day unbridled urban expansion of Cairo - and in Egypt's earliest art (prehistoric images of fish-traps carved into cliffs) and the Arab Spring (fought on the bridges of Cairo) - the Nile is our guide to understanding the past and present of this unique, chaotic, vital, conservative yet rapidly changing land.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 304 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
Toby Wilkinson is an acclaimed Cambridge-based Egyptologist and the author of seminal books on life in ancient Egypt. His take on ancient and colonial history is impeccable ... His ancient sources are as thorough and as fascinating as any I have ever read ... Wilkinson's eye for significant detail, his great curiosity about and affection for his subject, justify the retelling ... The most compelling parts are the ones where Wilkinson draws on his extensive knowledge of Egypt's ancient past * Anthony Sattin, Observer *
Colourful ... Without the River Nile there would be no Egypt. That might seem like entry-level geography, but Toby Wilkinson's achievement in his enjoyable survey of the Egyptian Nile's key stretch from Aswan to Cairo is to illustrate the point so compellingly ... Dexterously done and rich in detail ... Brilliant * Sunday Telegraph *
Thorough, erudite and enthusiastic ... Wilkinson does his best to bring the ancient Egyptians to life, and he is a great authority on the subject * Sunday Times *
I had always presumed, before I read Wilkinson's book, that it was impossible to write a history of Egypt which combined scholarship, accessibility, and a genuine sense of revelation. I was wrong * Tom Holland, Observer *
The foremost Egyptologist of his time ... shares his erudition with us in easy prose which never talks down to us, bringing those times and places splendidly to life * Nicholas Bagnall, Sunday Telegraph *
The eminent Egyptologist from Cambridge University blends contemporary description with digestible doses of history and anecdote from the time of the Pharaohs to the present day. The book is made timely by a reference to recent events * Independent *