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Publisher's Summary

One day in 1872, self-taught Assyriologist George Smith was sifting through a pile of clay tablets when he realized he was reading about "a flood, storm, a ship caught on a mountain, and a bird sent out in search of dry land". This is the riveting story of the discovery of the world's first literary epic, the "Epic of Gilgamesh".
©2006 David Damrosch (P)2007 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By James M on 07-16-08

interesting- but not for everyone

This book has 3 very different parts told in reverse chronological order.

The first part tells of the discovery and decyphermment of the epic of Gilgamesh through biographies of 2 of the discovers.

The 2nd part tells of the Assyrian kings who assembled the library in which it would be found and has a brief history of the neo-Assyrian Empire.

The 3rd section discusses the epic of Gilgamesh itself, relating the story and telling of earlier versions of the work and finally what little is known of the real King Gilgmesh.

The narrator is good, if perhaps a bit too brisk. And now you'll know how to pronounce "Ninevah".

I'm guessing the author wanted to personalize the story and so told it through a series of biographies. I think he was fairly succesful, but doubt if it would work for anyone not interested in archaeology.

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23 of 23 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Wallen on 04-20-11

A great story

The story of rediscovering the cuneiform tablets in Iraq should benefit not only those interested in history. This story is nicely compsed, never boring and actually quite interesting. The intrigues of the British "high society" scientific world in the late 1900s should come as a surprise to no one. But the most interesting part is the Sumerians and Akkadians speaking to us about their daily life some 4-5.000 years ago though the tablets. This is really mind-boggling. It is a sort of Facebook and Twitter long before computers. Well worth reading.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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