Book Review: 24 Hours in Ancient Egypt by Donald P. Ryan

24 hours in ancient egypt

24 Hours in Ancient Egypt by Donald P. Ryan follows the same informative, yet light-hearted, approach that 24 Hours in Ancient Rome did. This is not really surprising, given that they are both in the same book series, but it is worth mentioning as I had absolutely loved the Roman book. This meant that I came in quite excited to read this one, but I also felt a wee bit nervous – the author is different after all!

Set in the year 1414BC, during the reign of Amenhotep II and in the ancient city of Thebes, we catch a glimpse into the everyday lives of a wide variety of Ancient Egyptians when its empire, influence and culture was arguably at its peak. This is the Ancient Egypt that fills our imaginations and which rules from Syria in the north to Nubia (Sudan) in the south. The vast wealth that this empire generates builds the awe-inspiring temples and monuments that the civilisation is so well known for today, such as the temple complex of Karnak – still the largest ever religious site ever constructed apparently.



  • The concept: Once again, I loved the whole concept of this book. The whole semi-narrative approach to the topic of life in ancient civilisations, in this case Egypt, was fascinating and made the whole book very approachable. I guess it isn’t the most academic approach to a topic, but I am really enjoying it – and learning/re-learning stuff!


  • The wide variety of people covered: Like the Roman book in the series, we see into the daily lives of a huge variety of people from all walks of life. We get the very highest of Ancient Egypt with the Pharaoh (a very detailed chapter as, I guess, we have the most information about the lives of the Pharaohs) but we also get those at the bottom with farmers wives, fishermen and brick-makers. Personal favourites of mine were: the Overseer and learning about the process of building the huge Egyptian monuments, the fisherman, the priests and priestesses, the physician, the carpenter and the tomb robber.


  • Ancient Egypt: Ever since I was a child, I had a slight obsession with Ancient Egypt (and Ancient Greece for that matter). As a civilisation, it strikes such a mysterious and majestic note with its huge, vast, awe-inspiring monuments and staggering age and longevity (lasting over 3000 years!) and this book really captured that imagination.



  • The lack of humour: One thing I really, really enjoyed about 24 Hours in Ancient Rome was the humour that crept, ever so subtly, into the text. Maybe I missed it due to baby-induced sleep deprivation, but it didn’t seem to be present in this book. I guess the change of author is the cause, which makes sense as you want the experts writing these kinds of books.


  • The chapters don’t link: 24 Hours in Ancient Rome felt almost like reading a story and the ending of each chapter linked into the next with each character coming into contact with the next one before the focus shifted. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen in this book and I missed it, even if it was a small thing!


My Likes

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book! I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as 24 Hours in Ancient Rome, but if you are looking for an easy-to-pick up book that you can dip into on life in Ancient Egypt, then this might be the book for you.


2 thoughts on “Book Review: 24 Hours in Ancient Egypt by Donald P. Ryan

  1. Pingback: Book Review: 24 Hours in Ancient Athens by Philip Matyszak – Book Reviews | Jack's Bedtime Reading

  2. Pingback: 24 Hours in Ancient China by Dr Yijie Zhuang – Book Reviews | Jack's Bedtime Reading

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