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I. E. S. Edwards (1909–1996)

Författare till The Pyramids of Egypt

31+ verk 1,745 medlemmar 15 recensioner

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Foto taget av: Iorwerth E.S. Edwards

Serier

Verk av I. E. S. Edwards

The Pyramids of Egypt (1947) 478 exemplar
Prolegomena and Prehistory (1970) — Redaktör — 131 exemplar
Early History of the Middle East (1971) — Redaktör — 126 exemplar
The Middle East and the Aegean Region, c.1380–1000 B.C. (1975) — Redaktör — 112 exemplar
Tutankhamun's Jewelry (1976) 17 exemplar

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Great resource, I'm reaching for the next Volume...
 
Flaggad
Saturnin.Ksawery | 2 andra recensioner | Jan 12, 2024 |
It is perhaps worth noting what this book is, as a 19-volume collection totalling over 16,000 pages of dense material is not a project worth embarking on unless it suits. That is to say, this is a 5-star work for what it sets out to be, but can never be a 5-star work in many other ways.

The Cambridge Ancient History is part of a larger series, completed by The Cambridge Medieval History and The Cambridge Modern History that tell the story of Europe (and, in some cases, further afield) from geological prehistory to the middle of the 20th century. There are 19 books in the Ancient, 7 in the Medieval, and 13 dense tomes in the Modern (where the focus really does narrow down to Western Europe). It is, in other words, madness.

Why is it good? Well, it's by Cambridge. No, seriously. The professors and academics involved in each chapter and section have exhaustive knowledge of their subjects, and any given page details the scientific advances and knowledge (at least known to those in the last half of the 20th century, when these were published). For the most part, the approach is no-nonsense. This isn't some namby-pamby "listen to the people who claim the Pyramids were built by aliens" attitude, or "giving space to the idea" that there's a possibility that this was all faked by a deity who invented the world 2,000 years ago (it wasn't). This is science.

The tone is open-minded across the volumes, matter-of-fact although rarely all that enlivening. In many cases, the writers will happily go into immense detail on a subject (such as the colours and markings on Minoan pottery). Much like the best of the David Attenborough documentaries, it's hard to imagine how anyone could come away from this book anything less than completely convinced by the arguments at hand. Also, by taking the anthology approach of allowing experts to write each section (which were originally published as individual fascicles to help eager students), every section has the imprimatur of academia.

Combined with this, every volume has a detailed bibliography, maps where relevant, and lots of reassurance that all of the knowledge contained herein is part of a larger, ongoing conversation between academics and historians around the world, piecing together evidence to form hypotheses, then either verifying or discarding these as the decades go on. It's exactly what science should be, and it's a shame that the set is so expensive.

At the same time... of course, this is not for everyone, and isn't even necessarily the best way to learn this information. The books are written by academics and designed primarily for students and academics. Most people will find it practical to pick up the volume that suits the area they are interested in, rather than reading the whole work. If you don't have some knowledge of plate tectonics, entire chunks of pages would be better served as a doorstop. On top of this - as with other, similar, iconic works like The Arden Shakespeare - the volume was made for people with access to a university library. If a battle is deemed relevant, it may be discussed in detail. Other times, you may be directed to a different work entirely to discuss particular elements. Rather than showing contemporary views on, say, Cleopatra, the author might refer you to another work where you can find such views. The section on Sumerian kings won't actually list all of the Sumerian kings, as you might expect to find in a source book. Rather, it will discuss the various lists that exist, and their sources, with footnotes directing you to where you can find the list. So, although this book contains much useful information, it is by no means a comprehensive source, not a Complete Works that can replace the internet or access to a tertiary institution. Sometimes, you may come away from a section with only information about the information you were looking for! (The strings of technicalities are most prominent in these very early volumes, of course.)

On top of this, the internet has meant that armchair readers of a subject may find it easier to consult Wikipedia, science articles, and synopses of this information. There are good sources online for how the continents came to their present location that are speedier and just as satisfying as reading 60 pages of dense prattle. That's not to say any part of this set is unnecessary, but much of it serves a clear purpose that is not for the armchair historian: it is to provide a primer for academic students, or an overview for academics, that can direct them in expanding knowledge via the 15 or 20 relevant texts from the bibliography.

(Incidentally, I would have to put in a plug for applying for membership at your nearest university library. Many of them have non-student memberships for a price, which allow you some kind of access to the material. And of course, nearly all of them are open to the public anyway. Just pick a rack of books and get involved. It will help support the library and also widen your mind.)

Also, it's not as much of a problem in the Ancient set, but younger people in the 21st century seem to struggle with the notion that an academic (or bunch thereof) has all the information. It's for this reason that the older style of documentary - in which one person (admittedly, usually a white man in those days) narrates their view of the world direct to the camera for 13 episodes - has fallen by the wayside a bit. Although, for me, there is nothing better than listening to the learned (if only we could shake up the gender and colour bias somewhat!), it's worth noting that as part of a generation raised on special effects and multitasking, the question rages as to the best way to present this level of text and facts in a new era. But that's a digression.

It's exciting to many of us to find such a large, attractive set, with such a wide scope of information. And these volumes will inevitably not be read by that many due to their size, density, and the fact that such endless streams of factual knowledge eventually withers even the sharpest mind, without much emotional or personal connection to the subject. Some of the volumes are better than others at tackling social and cultural information, while unfortunately there is still a tendency for some to approach history as a series of battles and kings. True, these are often easier to glean from the evidence available, but there is so much more. The differences we see in culture, in vocabulary, in attitudes, just between 1960 and today are exactly what occurred to the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Ancient Chinese, and others. For a long time, these issues were seen as somehow "less than history", as feminine or as entertainment. Now, they are being seen more and more as vital, as they should be.

So, all in all, yes. These volumes are magisterial, and we should cherish them - if for no other reason then it is unlikely something similar will come along again.
… (mer)
 
Flaggad
therebelprince | 1 annan recension | Oct 24, 2023 |
It is perhaps worth noting what this book is, as a 19-volume collection totalling over 16,000 pages of dense material is not a project worth embarking on unless it suits. That is to say, this is a 5-star work for what it sets out to be, but can never be a 5-star work in many other ways.

The Cambridge Ancient History is part of a larger series, completed by The Cambridge Medieval History and The Cambridge Modern History that tell the story of Europe (and, in some cases, further afield) from geological prehistory to the middle of the 20th century. There are 19 books in the Ancient, 7 in the Medieval, and 13 dense tomes in the Modern (where the focus really does narrow down to Western Europe). It is, in other ways, madness.

Why is it good? Well, it's by Cambridge. No, seriously. The professors and academics involved in each chapter and section have exhaustive knowledge of their subjects, and any given page details the scientific advances and knowledge (at least known to those in the last half of the 20th century, when these were published). For the most part, the approach is no-nonsense. This isn't some namby-pamby listen to the people who claim the Pyramids were built by aliens, or that there's a possibility that this was all faked by a deity who invented the world 2,000 years ago (it wasn't). This is science.

The tone is open-minded across the volumes, matter-of-fact although rarely all that enlivening. In many cases, the writers will happily go into immense detail on a subject (such as the colours and markings on Minoan pottery). Much like the best of the David Attenborough documentaries, it's hard to imagine how anyone could come away from this book anything less than completely convinced by the arguments at hand. Also, by taking the anthology approach of allowing experts to write each section (which were originally published as individual fascicles to help eager students), every section has the imprimatur of academia.

Combined with this, every volume has a detailed bibliography, maps where relevant, and lots of reassurance that all of the knowledge contained herein is part of a larger, ongoing conversation between academics and historians around the world, piecing together evidence to form hypotheses, then either verifying or discarding these as the decades go on. It's exactly what science should be, and it's a shame that the set is so expensive.

At the same time... of course, this is not for everyone, and isn't even necessarily the best way to learn this information. The books are written by academics and designed primarily for students and academics. Most people will find it practical to pick up the volume that suits the area they are interested in, rather than reading the whole work. If you don't have some knowledge of plate tectonics, entire chunks of pages would be better served as a doorstop. On top of this - as with other, similar, iconic works like The Arden Shakespeare - the volume was made for people with access to a university library. The section on Sumerian kings won't actually list any Sumerian kings, as you might expect to find in a source book. Rather, it will discuss the various lists that exist, and their sources, with footnotes directing you to where you can find the list. So, although this book contains much useful information, it is by no means a comprehensive source. Sometimes, you may come away from a section with only information about the information you were looking for!

On top of this, the internet has meant that armchair readers of a subject may find it easier to consult Wikipedia, science articles, and synopses of this information. There are good sources online for how the continents came to their present location that are speedier and just as satisfying as reading 60 pages of dense prattle. That's not to say any part of this set is unnecessary, but much of it serves a clear purpose that is not for the armchair historian: it is to provide a primer for academic students, or an overview for academics, that can direct them in expanding knowledge via the 15 or 20 relevant texts from the bibliography.

Also, it's not as much of a problem in the Ancient set, but younger people in the 21st century seem to struggle with the notion that an academic (or bunch thereof) has all the information. It's for this reason that the older style of documentary - in which one person (admittedly, usually a white man in those days) narrates their view of the world direct to the camera for 13 episodes - has fallen by the wayside a bit. Although, for me, there is nothing better than listening to the learned (if only we could shake up the gender and colour bias somewhat!). But that's a digression.

It's exciting to many of us to find such a large, attractive set, with such a wide scope of information. And these volumes will inevitably not be read by that many due to their size, density, and the fact that such endless streams of factual knowledge eventually withers even the sharpest mind, without much emotional or personal connection to the subject. Some of the volumes are better than others at tackling social and cultural information, while unfortunately there is still a tendency for some to approach history as a series of battles and kings. True, these are often easier to glean from the evidence available, but there is so much more. The differences we see in culture, in vocabulary, in attitudes, just between 1960 and today are exactly what occurred to the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Ancient Chinese, and others. For a long time, these issues were seen as somehow "less than history", as feminine or as entertainment. Now, they are being seen more and more as vital, as they should be.

So, all in all, yes. These volumes are magisterial, and we should cherish them - if for no other reason then it is unlikely something similar will come along again.
… (mer)
 
Flaggad
therebelprince | 1 annan recension | Oct 24, 2023 |
Great resource, I'm reaching for the next Volume...
 
Flaggad
SaturninCorax | 2 andra recensioner | Sep 27, 2021 |

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Verk
31
Även av
1
Medlemmar
1,745
Popularitet
#14,741
Betyg
4.0
Recensioner
15
ISBN
53
Språk
8

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