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1 Burnside Africa- Egypt

This title in other editions

Mirage: Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt

by

Mirage: Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Little more than two hundred years ago, only the most reckless or eccentric Europeans had dared traverse the unmapped territory of the modern-day Middle East. Its history and peoples were the subject of much myth and speculation—and no region aroused greater interest than Egypt, where reports of mysterious monuments, inscrutable hieroglyphics, rare silks and spices, and rumors of lost magical knowledge tantalized dreamers and taunted the power-hungry.

It was not until 1798, when an unlikely band of scientific explorers traveled from Paris to the Nile Valley, that Westerners received their first real glimpse of what lay beyond the Mediterranean Sea.

Under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Army, a small and little-known corps of Paris's brightest intellectual lights left the safety of their laboratories, studios, and classrooms to embark on a thirty-day crossing into the unknown—some never to see French shores again. Over 150 astronomers, mathematicians, naturalists, physicists, doctors, chemists, engineers, botanists, artists—even a poet and a musicologist—accompanied Napoleon's troops into Egypt. Carrying pencils instead of swords, specimen jars instead of field guns, these highly accomplished men participated in the first large-scale interaction between Europeans and Muslims of the modern era. And many lived to tell the tale.

Hazarding hunger, hardship, uncertainty, and disease, Napoleon's scientists risked their lives in pursuit of discovery. They approached the land not as colonizers, but as experts in their fields of scholarship, meticulously categorizing and collecting their finds—from the ruins of the colossal pyramids to the smallest insects to the legendary Rosetta Stone.

Those who survived the three-year expedition compiled an exhaustive encyclopedia of Egypt, twenty-three volumes in length, which secured their place in history as the world's earliest-known archaeologists. Unraveling the mysteries that had befuddled Europeans for centuries, Napoleon's scientists were the first to document the astonishing accomplishments of a lost civilization—before the dark shadow of empire-building took Africa and the Middle East by storm.

Internationally acclaimed journalist Nina Burleigh brings readers back to a little-known landmark adventure at the dawn of the modern era—one that ultimately revealed the deepest secrets of ancient Egypt to a very curious continent.

Review:

"When 28-year-old Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, his band of 50,000 soldiers and sailors was accompanied by 151 Parisian scientists and artists, who laid the groundwork for what became Egyptology. Ten of these remarkable men are the focus of Burleigh's narrative. Among them, three of the most prominent were the lowborn, 'pugnacious' mathematician Gaspard Monge, a dedicated revolutionary who invented descriptive geometry; the painfully shy chemist Claude-Louis Berthollet, who invented new ways to make gunpowder and steel; and the witty artist and diplomat Dominique-Vivant Denon, who produced 200 architecturally precise sketches of Egyptian ruins and a bestselling travelogue; later he became Napoleon's first director of the Louvre Museum. The survivors of the team brought home a vast body of knowledge, but surrendered their greatest discovery, the Rosetta Stone, to conquering British troops. The result of the savants' work was the 24-volume Description of Egypt, magnificently illustrated with engravings and maps, which helped launch Egyptomania and the 'rape of the Nile,' though Burleigh's discussion of this is scanty. Still, Burleigh (A Very Private Woman) offers an absorbing glimpse of Napoleon's thwarted bid for a grand French empire and its intellectual fruits. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

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About the Author

Nina Burleigh is the author of two widely praised books, The Stranger and the Statesman: James Smithson, John Quincy Adams, and the Making of America's Greatest Museum: The Smithsonian and A Very Private Woman: The Life and Unsolved Murder of Presidential Mistress Mary Meyer. Her articles have appeared in Time, the Washington Post, New York, the New York Observer, Elle, Mirabella, Redbook, Jane, Spy, Regardie's, the Chicago Tribune, George, on Salon.com, and many other publications. She has traveled widely in the United States, covering American elections, and extensively in the Middle East, reporting from inside Iraq during the 1990s on assignment for Time. She lives in New York with her family.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060597672
Subtitle:
Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt
Author:
Burleigh, Nina
Author:
by Nina Burleigh
Author:
Selby, John
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
Middle East - Egypt
Subject:
Archaeology
Subject:
Expeditions & Discoveries
Subject:
France
Subject:
Antiquities
Subject:
History
Subject:
Military - Napoleonic Wars
Subject:
Egypt Antiquities.
Subject:
Egypt - History - French occupation, 1798-
Subject:
Meditations
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20071127
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 2.2622 in 22.56 oz

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Related Subjects

Biography » Social Scientists and Psychologists
History and Social Science » Africa » Egypt
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » World History » Africa
History and Social Science » World History » European History General
History and Social Science » World History » France » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Mirage: Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt Used Hardcover
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$17.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Harper - English 9780060597672 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "When 28-year-old Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, his band of 50,000 soldiers and sailors was accompanied by 151 Parisian scientists and artists, who laid the groundwork for what became Egyptology. Ten of these remarkable men are the focus of Burleigh's narrative. Among them, three of the most prominent were the lowborn, 'pugnacious' mathematician Gaspard Monge, a dedicated revolutionary who invented descriptive geometry; the painfully shy chemist Claude-Louis Berthollet, who invented new ways to make gunpowder and steel; and the witty artist and diplomat Dominique-Vivant Denon, who produced 200 architecturally precise sketches of Egyptian ruins and a bestselling travelogue; later he became Napoleon's first director of the Louvre Museum. The survivors of the team brought home a vast body of knowledge, but surrendered their greatest discovery, the Rosetta Stone, to conquering British troops. The result of the savants' work was the 24-volume Description of Egypt, magnificently illustrated with engravings and maps, which helped launch Egyptomania and the 'rape of the Nile,' though Burleigh's discussion of this is scanty. Still, Burleigh (A Very Private Woman) offers an absorbing glimpse of Napoleon's thwarted bid for a grand French empire and its intellectual fruits. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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