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James Henry Breasted (1865-1935) had a career that epitomizes our popular image of the archaeologist. Daring, handsome, and charismatic, he travelled on expeditions to remote and politically unstable corners of the Middle East, helped identify the tomb of King Tut, and was on the cover of Time magazine. But Breasted was more than an Indiana Jones - he was also an accomplished scholar, academic, entrepreneur, and talented author who brought ancient history to life not just for students but for such notables as Teddy Roosevelt and Sigmund Freud. In American Egyptologist , Jeffrey Abt weaves together the disparate strands of Breasted's life, from his small-town origins following the Civil War to his evolution into the father of American Egyptology and the founder of the Oriental Institute in the early years of the University of Chicago. Abt explores the scholarly, philanthropic, diplomatic, and religious contexts of his ideas and projects, providing insight into the origins of America's most prominent center for Near Eastern archaeology. An illuminating portrait of the nearly forgotten man who demystified ancient Egypt for the general public, American Egyptologist restores James Henry Breasted to the world and puts forward a brilliant case for his place as one of the most important scholars of modern times.
Country of Publication:
Further / Higher Education
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Abt has done an excellent job of narrating Breasted's scholarly life and accomplishments. He deftly fills in the various backgrounds and influences--from the mentorship of William Rainey Harper and Adolf Erman to the archaeological politics of interwar Egypt and the institutional politics of the University of Chicago--and, since Breasted was always interested in larger issues related to society, history, and religion, Abt provides sensitive insight into the contemporary worldview of the educated, both lay and professional. Well written and illustrated, this is a book that will appeal to all seriously interested in moving beyond Indiana Jones to a deeper understanding of how scholars have reconstructed ancient Egypt. <br><br>--Stephen Dyson, University of Buffalo Stephen Dyson, SUNY, University at Buffalo