From Publishers Weekly
This study of the worlds longest river is also a journey through time and space, as the authors show how strongly interwoven the Nile is with the histories and beliefs of the people who live near it. Published in concert with a BBC/Discovery Channel series on the same topic, the book is a thorough and eye-pleasing introduction to the river. The first chapter tells the story of ancient Egypt as it relates to the Nile, describing how crucial the rich resources in the river basin were to the development of that civilizations agriculture, mythology and customs. A chapter on the yearly flooding takes the book to the rivers southern and eastern reaches in Sudan and Ethiopia, which feature some of its most striking geography and animals (such as the semi-aquatic Sitatunga antelope and the flat-snouted lungfish). The longest chapter covers the searches for the Niles source by determined but often unlucky British explorers, and potently evokes the attitudes and ideas dominant during Victorian colonization. The writing is textbook-dry, but the photos make up for this lack of color. Towering stalks of papyrus, a hideous, fierce vulture and aerial photos of the marshy valley bring the Nile to splendid life. Beautiful and informative, this book should satisfy anyone looking for a visual overview of this exotic locale. 100+ color photos, 7 maps.
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A companion to a BBC program that Discovery Channel will broadcast in December 2004, this work contains many gorgeous photos of the longest river on the earth. The photographs, including many two-page spreads, are grouped into three aspects of the Nile: pharaonic civilization, contemporary geologic and living scenery, and the mid-nineteenth-century expeditions that sought to discover the Nile's source. The authors' text serviceably expands upon the content of the photographs. For example, an image of Egyptian funerary art prompts an explanation of religious belief and practice and its roots in the (once) annual inundation of the Nile Valley. In this manner, the authors figuratively proceed upriver, passing monuments until Egyptology geographically fades out and the monotonous landscape of Sudan fades in. Views become dramatic when the river splits at Khartoum, with the Blue Nile taking the narrators to the highlands of Ethiopia and the White Nile transporting them into the complex watersheds of central Africa. This volume's visually immediacy will captivate browsers. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved