When I was asked to review this book, I was immediately excited. My own Egyptomania is what started me on my Egyptological path. From a young age, I collected articles, videos, magazines, photos, and fiction books about ancient Egypt. I’d drive my mother crazy asking her to buy me my ancient Egypt magazine so that I could add the weekly offering of hole-punched mini-articles to my ring binder.
The minute that I opened this book, I was greeted by Bob Brier’s account of his Egyptomania and, while his was on a far grander scale than my own, I enjoyed reminiscing about my own teenage collecting habits as he reminisced about bidding in auctions and trawling through antiques fairs and flea markets for anything remotely Egyptian themed.
I was fascinated to learn just how many items have been inspired by ancient Egypt through history – tea sets, cigarettes, pocketknives and even talcum powder have all been treated to an Egyptomaniacal makeover!
Brier recounts tales of the events that started the worldwide fascination with all things Egyptian, from the Romans’ obsession with obelisks, to Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign and Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.
There is something for everyone in this book: adventure, Hollywood glamour, and astounding engineering feats. I particularly enjoyed reading about how ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’ came to be standing on the bank of the River Thames in London – I didn’t realise the sheer determination, courage, and sadness that surrounds this iconic landmark!
There is far more to Egyptomania than meets the eye, and Brier’s entertaining read will leave anyone with even a remote interest in ancient Egypt with a desire to clear their shelves for some Egyptian themed memorabilia.
Right, I’m off to hunt eBay for bits of Egyptian themed Wedgwood…
You can buy ‘Egyptomania’ here.