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Publisher's Summary

Professor of Egyptology and director of the Yale Egyptological Institute John C. Darnell delves into the history of Ancient Egypt from the Predynastic Period through the end of the New Kingdom. In these lectures, Professor Darnell shows that, despite common perceptions, Pharaonic Egyptian civilization existed within a multicultural society subject to disparate geological environments-and that its strength lay in the balancing of contrasting groups and goals.
©2010 John C. Darnell (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Irena on 01-04-11


This is the first time I'm disappointed with The Modern Scholar course.
First of all, the lecturer has an extremely annoying manner of speech: if there is a word in a sentence he feels strongly about, he pronounces it in a peculiar manner reminiscent of a
bad guy from an animation movie or a grown up telling a "Little Red Cape" tale to a bunch of little kids. "These provinces, these n-ooooooooooooooooooo-mes" etc.
Also sometimes it felt like the lecturer was reading from the written text for a long period of time.

Anyway, after the first 4 hours of listening I got used to his speech, to some extent.
But the main problem is that 8 hours and a half are simply not enough for a decent survey of Ancient Egyptian history. Either the course should have concentrated on a particular period or on researching a particular idea or concept. The title of the course indeed hints that there is some underlining concept it is going to highlight. But in reality the course ends up as a hurried survey of the 3500 years of the Ancient Egypt history. Some periods or ideas are described in great detail and some are rushed through, probably depending on the interest the lecturer has in them. One time ( the queen Hatshepsut rein) practically the same material is repeated twice. At the end the course leaves an impression of one big mess. I am glad it's not my first course on Ancient Egyptian history, otherwise I would be in a real trouble.

The other problem I had with this course, is that the author has his own interesting and controversial theories on many issues, but he usually either completely forgets to mention this theory is not the only one available, or says something like : it is obvious that this
(a short hint at the other opinions) is not the case; unfortunately most of the modern books state that ..., but in reality it is obvious that (here goes his theory). I understand that this may be related to a time shortage, but it is an additional reason the course is disappointing.

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8 of 10 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By BF Palo Alto on 04-18-18

Pedantic and disappointing.

There are several lectures, scattered among the 14, that are engaging and insightful. On the whole, though, this is like living through grade school history courses -- chock full of names and dates with little tying them together. The last few lectures disintegrate into rapid recitation of dates and events with no meaning.

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