Title: Babylonian Life and History
Author: E. A. Wallis Budge
Genre: History/ Archeology
So, I want to be Indiana Jones when I grow up. Who doesn’t? Although a friend advised me that to be Andi “Tex” Klemm would be far cooler, and I have suggested that I just might have to embroider this onto a fedora.
In the meantime, I study as much history as I can. I also subscribe to the Archeology magazine. And the way I go all fan-girl at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, well, it’s part of what makes me awesome… right?
So my “grown-up reading time” during my 5 year old’s ancient history year was Babylonian Life and History by E. Wallis Budge. It was neat teaching her the bare bones of the Babylonians and Assyrians out of Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World, and memorizing tidbits from the Classical Conversations curriculum, while getting a deeper dose for myself. I’ll continue this effort of furthering my education while I begin hers as long as I can. If you don’t have time for that, I understand completely; but if you do, this is a worthy book to select.
E.A. Wallis Budge never ceases to amaze me. Every time I think I have everything he ever wrote I think I find 3 new titles. He’s so prolific and seems to be the end all be all on Ancient History. Found some tidbit of from the ancient world you’d like to investigate? – there’s probably a Budge book for that. His prose is nothing special, and at times even a little boring, but I love reading his work and hope to read it all before I die.
and how aliens should stay on the Tardis
Title: A Brief History of Stonehenge: A Complete History and Archeology of the World’s Most Enigmatic Stone Circle
Author: Aubrey Burl
Publisher: Constable & Robinson
Genre: Non-fiction, Archeology
Length: 368 pages
Although I read mostly fiction, nonfiction (history and science mostly) has a special place in my library and heart. Where I devour stories and riveting tales, I pour over facts and dates. I underline and disparage intelligent books with my amateur notes in the margins. My nonfiction books take a beating my fiction titles can’t even dream of… ink splatters from broken fountain pens, pages become stained and wrinkled from spilled coffee and dog-eared corners. There’s sticky residue from too many post-it notes. Where my fiction books radiate and breathe the word “treasure,” my nonfiction books tiredly whimper “tool.”
My collection of “A Brief History of…” books are prime examples,Stonehengeby Aubrey Burl being the most recent victim of my hunger for knowledge.
“I’m reading about the history ofStonehenge.” – Me
“That’s silly, no one knows the history ofStonehenge, it’s a mystery. The aliens did it.” – My sarcastic sister.
Its moments like these when the dichotomy of my reading habits collide the most often. Where science fiction and fantasy novels are, at times, the highlight of my day, I like these kinds of conjectures to stay in novels. The concepts of the pyramids being mystical,Stonehengebeing magical, and the world being over-ridden by alien beings from other planets make great stories – awesome Dr. Who episodes – but really annoying documentaries.
That guy with the hair on Ancient Aliens, you know who I’m talking about, the one that shows up in every show about everything with his orange face and tan lines around the eyeballs… he totally cracks me up! But I think he’s a nut and I’d much rather sit and read an archeologist’s account of their findings than risk that guy interrupting my research, telling me (yet again) that the aliens did it.
I love how Diana Gabaldon uses Stonehenge-like structures as her premise for time travel in the Outlander series. Its brilliant! But don’t try to convince me that little piece of fun is the real deal, the actual way of the world.
Aubrey Burl has delivered exactly what I want out of my nonfiction reading. It’s a complete and thorough report on every piece of archeological evidence, history, and anthropological speculation (minus the aliens) that has been made over the years. It’s got maps, diagrams, measurements, and so on. From the Druids, to 1500-1800 literature, to the most recent of science experiments, Burl gives me enough information to feel knowledgeable enough to either putStonehengeaside and call myself learned or have a solid basis at which to do additional research and know where to look. And its reader friendly, even if my copy has been treated maliciously by ink and coffee.
Buy Stonehenge by Aubrey Burl
This is a great kick start to the life of Ramses the Great. We are introduced to his throne hungry brother Shaanar, his father Seti, mother Tuya, obnoxious sister Dolora, and his two wives Iset the Fair and Nefartari. Moses is also introduced, which is slightly irksome because the book is written off the old school of thought that Moses was during the time of Ramses the Great due to the mention of the city of Ramses in the scriptures. I believe its highly likely that the name of the city mentioned in the bible was updated by an eager scribe and that the proper date of Moses’ lifespan would place him during the 15th century/18th dynasty about 200 years before Ramses. Generally, I enjoyed the book although I feel much is lost in the translation from the French (Jacq’s writing seems too simplistic and listy), but I am still excited about reading the four remaining books in the series to see how it all plays out from Jacq’s perspective.
A fabulous article on Moses and his placement in history: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/02/27/Moses-and-Hatshepsut.aspx