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How the Great Pyramid was Built    by Craig B. Smith order for
How the Great Pyramid was Built
by Craig B. Smith
Order:  USA  Can
Collins, 2006 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Of all the mysteries that continue to fascinate mankind, how the pyramids were built remains one of the most intriguing. Theories, some plausible and some far-fetched, abound. Were the pyramids built by an alien race? Could such marvels really have been engineered and created by human hands? Did the Egyptians possess technology that helped them with this task?

Smith doesn't believe so. With research help from Dr. Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and director of excavations at Giza, Saqqara and Bahariya Oasis, he sets out to prove that the reason Ancient Egyptians were able to build the Great Pyramid of Khufu to withstand the test of time was simple: they were motivated. As Dr. Hawass notes in his introduction, 'every household in Upper and Lower Egypt participated in the building of the king's pyramid by sending workforces, food and supplies. They did this to help the king be a god; the pyramid was the ladder that the king would climb to the afterlife on his quest for immortality.'

This fascinating statement sets the tone for the chapters to follow. Meticulously researched, this book is the ultimate resource on everything you've ever wanted to know about pyramids. Accessible to scholars as well as the general populace, How the Great Pyramid was Built delves into in-depth detail on everything from what (and how much) the workers ate to the strict construction schedules they followed. Intricate illustrations, charts, tables and a number of full-color photographs make it easy to gain a thorough understanding of the way this extremely complex task would have been performed forty-five centuries ago.

For anyone who has ever been intrigued by the process the Ancient Egyptians must have followed to build their exquisite pyramids, this book will prove eye-opening. It's difficult to imagine the sheer number of people who would have had to labor day after day, watching as the pyramid grew from nothing into the gigantic structure it eventually became. Smith estimates that the workers' village alone 'required more than 8 million mud bricks to reach full occupancy'. With such staggering facts sprinkled throughout the book, Smith brings to life a long-ago era and the impressive achievements of ancient people who, even thousands of years later, continue to hold us enthralled with their way of life and belief system.

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