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A World Beneath the Sands


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A vivid account of the men and women who revealed the treasures of Ancient Egypt to the world, from the first decipherment of hieroglyphics to the opening of the tomb of Tutankhamun.

About the Author

Professor Toby Wilkinson is an internationally acclaimed Egyptologist, and the prize-winning author of twelve books which have been translated into twelve languages. His books include The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt, The Nile and A World Beneath the Sands. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society, and a member of the international editorial board of the Journal of Egyptian History. He is the Vice-Chancellor of the Fiji National University and a Bye-Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge.


It would be hard to overstate the excellence of Wilkinson's storytelling - and I was surprisingly distraught to think that there can never be a sequel. -- A. S. H. Smyth * Spectator *
The definitive account of the golden age of Egyptology * Waterstone's Best Books of the Year *
It is a story full of drama, with the Nile, the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings as backdrop. That A World Beneath the Sands is also a subtle and stimulating study of the paradoxes of 19th-century colonialism is a bonus indeed. -- Tom Holland * Guardian *
Fascinating . . . A World Beneath the Sands is more than a saga of foreigners in the desert - it also follows Egypt on its rocky path to the 20th century. * Economist *
The story that strings these wonderful characters together is the steady professionalisation of Egyptology - the shift, as Wilkinson puts it, from 'scoundrels to scholars'. -- James McConnachie * Sunday Times *
A gripping tale . . . excellent * Financial Times *
The debate over the decolonization of Egyptology and the repatriation of artefacts has only just started. Wilkinson's elegantly written book provides a sound background and a useful biography that will allow readers to understand and participate in that debate. -- Joyce Tyldesley * BBC History Magazine *
A fascinating story. -- Paul Zimansky * TLS *
Riveting . . . Wilkinson is a consummate historian . . . He has mastered the facts with painstaking research and allowed them to speak for themselves. Rarely do the facts speak this clearly. * New York Times *
Dramatic, detailed and eccentric-packed . . . as Toby Wilkinson shows, the discovery of lost monuments, grave goods and mummified corpses also stimulated the emergence of their true inheritors, the modern Egyptian nation. * Wall Street Journal *
Vividly detailed * New Yorker *
A superbly readable, magnificently entertaining, profoundly thoughtful and scholarly history of the bizarre and determined characters who burrowed into Egypt in comparatively recent history - and who all too often made away with their finds. You will want to read chunks of it aloud to anyone who happens to be around. -- Sue Gaisford * Tablet 'Books of the Year' *
Wilkinson marshals a wealth of detail into a cohesive and entertaining narrative . . . an essential portrait * Publishers Weekly *
Few can bring us ancient Egypt with such dynamism as Toby Wilkinson. In A World Beneath the Sands, he has excelled himself in bringing to life the intriguing and swashbuckling story of Egypt's discovery. He shows us how much what we seek from the past has always told us about ourselves. -- Professor Michael Scott, author of Ancient Worlds: An Epic History of East and West and presenter of the BBC documentary series Ancient Invisible Cities: Cairo, Athens, Istanbul

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