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Great Empires: An Illustrated Atlas Hardcover – Nov 20 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (Nov. 20 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426208294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426208294
  • Product Dimensions: 28.3 x 24 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 Kg
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Detailed, but not too detailed; narrative quality, but also fairly random. Dec 24 2012
By Brian Rose - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a huge ancient history buff. My favorite books include "Collapse of Complex Societies", Polybius' "The Rise of the Roman Empire", "Guns, Germs, and Steel", "A Short History of Nearly Everything", and many more.

I found that this book painted broad strokes, and presented selective information. I was left wondering why they chose to discuss one seemingly minor detail while leaving out more significant info at times. This wasn't a big hindrance for two reasons:

1. When attempting to cover the entire history of civilization in less than 5,000 pages you are guaranteed to miss numerous details.

2. The seemingly random details covered in subsections presented interesting facts and stories even I was not aware of, so a book I expected to be merely a review actually presented new, enlightening info, a surprise I enjoyed.

As you could expect the pictures are rich and many in number.

If you are a history buff you will enjoy this book. If you are new to ancient history this book will be a wonderful, compelling introduction. In other words, this book blends simplicity and detail very well. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A missed opportunity Feb. 1 2014
By Dr - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book rather disappointing.
Given National Geographic's skill in map making I was hoping for more and better maps
The idea for the book is good and some of the features are useful as far as they go , but it could be much better.
There are a number of illustrations of marginal benefit - that get half or a whole page. A number of these illustrations date to centuries later- eg Hanging Garden of Babylon , or the comtempory by the waterside used to illustrate a saying from "The instruction of Ani" ( why are the saying mainly undated- an idea of what century it came from would help
Articles from the time period are usually annotated and dated on the page they occur on. A few other objects get the same treatment but most you have to go to the back and look for acknowledgements- often all this tells you is in which Museum it is in with no details on artist or date. This may seem like carping but sections on a given period should be illustrated by objects of the time_yes they are there but the later objects give so much wrong information- like the armour or dress of the time etc

My main grip is that more space could be use for maps
The Ancient Near East is illustrated by 2 maps. One from theAkkadian Empire and the second showing Babylonian Empire- also on the map is the Hittite empire, the Assyrian Empire, the Neo- Babylonian Empire and some other details. This would have been better shown it extra maps

The Holy Roman Empire was created by Charlemagne when he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope in 800. The map chosen to show the Holy Roman Empire shows it in 1648 - About 150 years before it collapsed under the reorganisation of Central Europe by Napoleon - why is only one map included
Why no clear identification of the 7 or so men who were the Electors-( several temporal rulers and several Major church leaders who Elected the Holy Roman Emperor-- as they had this power much political and other maneuvering occurred around them Mozart's Prince Bishop in Salzburg from memory was one

The British Empire gets one map about 1900, While the Russian Empire gets several small maps showing its great expansion after 1500

This book has some good maps But could have been so much better with more maps
The time lines in the sections and at the back are OK but far to brief
The text is fair (how can one say much in a few pages and some of the other features like sidebars an brief essays can be informative
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great intro book on the subject Dec 29 2012
By loyal customer Bill - Published on
Format: Hardcover
One sees many books covering this topic in one way or another, but I am impressed that National Geographic did an outstanding job of introducing the topic. Both the most important and many lesser empires are included, each with excellent small maps and many details of their culture, art, government, etc. Asia and South America are not left out. At the end is a simple but very useful comparative chronology of the empires showing their origins, peaks, and declines. I would have liked to see more on the short-lived, mostly evil, 20th century empires that caused so much war, but overall this is a great single book summary of empires in world history.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It's a coffee table book that really invites browsing Sept. 3 2013
By RetiredMilitaryOfficer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Whenever I'm sitting on the couch with a few minutes to spare, I tend to pick up this book from the coffee table. If you're at all interested in world history, this is a book for you. Each chapter is self contained, and the text does a very nice job of summarizing the history of each empire outlined in the book. The pictures and maps, as usual in a National Geographic publication, make the book. The maps are really easy to read and the pictures vary from great to outstanding and are frequently visually stunning.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful Aug. 10 2013
By Nancy Price-Hobday - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is not only great for the coffee table, it is PACKED with very good historical information. I recommend it highly for anybody interested in ancient history.

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