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How to Survive in Ancient Egypt (Hardback)

Ancient History > Ancient Egypt & Egyptology P&S History

By Charlotte Booth
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 176
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526753496
Published: 18th May 2020



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Imagine you were transported back in time to Ancient Egypt and you had to start a new life there. How would you fit in? Where would you live? What would you eat? Where would you go to have your hair done? Who would you go to if you got ill, or if you were mugged in the street? All these questions, and many more, will be answered in this new how-to guide for time travellers.

Part self-help guide, part survival guide, this lively and engaging book will help the reader deal with the many problems and new experiences that they will face, and also help them to thrive in this strange new environment.

The information is presented in a clear and precise way that allows better understanding and depth of knowledge, and the extensive bibliographies provide guidance on further reading. The authors all managed to share the knowledge they have researched and do so in an interesting fashion. I highly recommend these books to budding historian.

Review of three 'How to Survive' books here

Rosie Writes...

Charlotte Booth actually wrote one of my other favourites In Bed with the Ancient Egyptians so I was really excited to pick up this one and let me tell you, it is a fun read! She is a qualified Egyptologist so she really knows her stuff! I was super excited to jump back in time to Ancient Egypt and learn about life, we have to (as the reader and main character of this book) find a job, a house, provide for ourselves....this is was honestly my dream as someone who would love to actually travel back in time and experience life in Egypt.

We learn about so many things from the pyramids to medicine and all of it is so fun because the author teaches us by telling us what we would be doing in certain situations! You'll know exactly what to do if you eat a bit of dodgy poultry!! You will giggle from the authors wittyness and you really do just flow right through the book because the author makes learning fun. The chapters were the perfect length and the writing was enjoyable! I definitely recommend this one to Ancient Egypt lovers!

Read the full review here

Samantha Paris

While reading How to Survive in Ancient Egypt, I felt that I was there - walking through the streets and talking to vendors. It was an enlightening experience that allowed me to learn more about life in Egypt in a non-traditional way.

NetGalley, Candice Kendall

I enjoy the creativity and of course the research behind this was so well done.

NetGalley, Makenzie Erickson

Review by Alan L. Jeffreys

... I would confidently recommend this book for a newcomer to the subject. Booth’s clear, easy writing conveys everything required of such an approach, painting such an attractive picture of Theban life that it would surely tempt a new reader to seek out further books and so become an aficionado of Egyptology. However, that said, it should still delight the seasoned Egyptophile who may pick up some surprising new information. This reviewer certainly did.

Newsletter of Egyptology Scotland

Very interesting and fun to read with lots if information about ancient Egypt you really feel like the author was there.

NetGalley, Shelly Myers

How to Survive in Ancient Egypt was such a fun, well-written, well-researched, engaging and an overall brilliant and fascinating read.

The whole concept and final product of this book was absolutely brilliant from start to finish. If you want to make history books fun, interesting, engaging then How to Survive in Ancient Egypt is a perfect example of how to do it right.

If you have an interest in Ancient Egypt or even a love of Ancient Egyptian history then I would definitely recommend this book.

Read the full review here

Where There's Ink There's Paper

This was so much fun! My favourite part of history is understanding the daily lives of ordinary people and How to Survive in Ancient Egypt was the perfect read for that. If you want to learn about how people actually lived in ancient Egypt; their houses, how they slept, what they ate, what happened if they got sick, what did they do for fun, what did they believe, how did they work this is the book for you. Only wish it had been longer.

NetGalley, Rebekka Steg

I was really excited to read this book, I love all this Ancient Egyptian and loved a visit I had to Cairo a few years ago so couldn't wait to jump in!

I really liked the way that the book was written, the author pitched the book perfectly and it was one I could pick up as and when I wanted over the space of a few days.

The chapter and topic lengths were perfect and I really like the way it was written as almost a travel guide on what to see, do and what not to do too!

The author was a little witty too where needed and it did make me giggle in places too - you never see a fat blind harpist after all! The book is written with a natural flow to it.

It is 4 stars from me for this one, I thought it was a great read - highly recommended!

NetGalley, Donna Maguire

Booth’s book is a useful introduction into the world of the Ancient Egyptians. Informative photographs, illustrations, and text boxes, and one very rude piece of graffiti, add to Booth’s engaging text. Thankfully, the Egyptians liked their art drawn from all walks of life, so we know a lot about them, and Booth balances her guidebook to incorporate a surprising amount of information across the spectrum.

Read the full review here

Beating Tsundoku

This is book written in the style of a ‘How to’ or like a Survival Guide type book for if you were visiting new places. The difference with this book is usually when your reading about Ancient Egypt, you only ever hear about the Kings and Queens or the rulers of Egypt. Whereas this book looks at ordinary everyday people and looks at where to eat, where to buy clothes, how to stay healthy or where to get a job and the list goes on. The book’s chapters all look at various aspects of life such as health, food work etc and it’s all written in an easy to read manner. In my opinion it wasn’t too taxing or complicated, it was just an easy read.

Which is why I think the book is going to be aimed at the everyday person, if you were deep into your Egyptian history and knowledge you would find this book to be too lightweight. But this shouldn’t take away from the text and the book, what is written is very good and accurate, it’s just that if you were really into Eygpt you would want more from the book. I would happily recommend this book to others but for me I would give it only a four star review.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

Going month by month one sees how life would be like in Egypt not just at the top. As well at different times of Ancient Egypt. Good introduction to daily life - not overexplained.

NetGalley, Alexandra Roth

Such a fun look at Ancient Egypt with really accessible writing and fascinating information. Really great read.

NetGalley, Sara Marsden

This is a really fun way to learn about ancient history. It’s presented as a travel guide and really helps spark the reader’s imagination. It will definitely help those trying to homeschool reluctant students of history.

NetGalley, Morris Morgan

I really enjoyed this book! I was always a fan of ancient Egypt so I was really interested in reading this book. It's set up almost like a travel guide or commentary about what life was life in ancient Egypt ranging from employment options, to fashion, and laws. Booth states at the beginning to read this book as though you are a male literate member of the middle class partly because there's more information about the middle class and not so much info about the peasants. It's also set in a specific time frame of the eighteenth dynasty. She explains her rationale behind using present tense in the book in her Introduction (pg. xiv). This was such an informative book and I enjoyed the little bits of humour included in her commentary. An example is when she was talking about using dried crocodile dung mixed with honey as a contraceptive, "The frequency of your marital activity obviously dictates how often you need to replace this 'pad', although you will probably be surprised how little marital activity there is once your husband finds out your method of contraceptive" (pg. 92). She also had a great set of sources from numerous universities and scholarly articles. Overall this was a well written and entertaining guide to life in ancient Egypt!

NetGalley, Vanessa Wojtanowski

This is a comprehensive overview of all aspects of life in Ancient Egypt, jam-packed with facts.

NetGalley, Urbano Rama

#HowToSurviveInAncientEgypt is a guide to life in ancient Thebes. I have read other books in this style and was glad to find one about Ancient Egypt.

I really enjoyed the format and learning about day to day life for average Egyptians and not just the royals (though this is included too, yay!). Food, hygiene, living spaces, religion....it’s all there!... I highly recommend this book as I haven’t found another like it on the Egyptians.

NetGalley, Gemma Rose

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

We all know how the royals lived in Ancient Egypt, but what about the regular, everyday people? Their lives are often overshadowed by the larger than life figures of their leaders.
How to Survive in Ancient Egypt dives into the lives of the everyday Egyptians - their food, poetry, death, and clothing. It was a fascinating read, and one that had little quips of humor and jokes throughout. Charlotte Booth takes their lives, and breaks it down into easy to read sections, leaving nothing out!

I enjoyed reading through this! It was a fun look into the way that everyday Egyptians lived. Getting a glimpse into some of their poetry, foods, and more was eye opening and enlightening! This is a great book for those who enjoy history!

NetGalley, Rebecca Hill

This was a fascinating book. How to survive in Ancient Egypt takes you back in time as a visitor of ancient Thebes during 1360 BCE. This is the 18th dynasty, during the reign of Amenhotep III, and is known as the glory days of Egypt.

This book paints a picture of what life was like for the everyday person during this time, not the royalty. This was a fascinating perspective about how people lived, worked, ate, along with so many other things. I learned so much from this book because all of the books I have read on Egypt have been about kings and queens.

Here are a few of the topics covered in this book: medicine, contraception, birth, bathing, perfume, professional mourners, games, and crime and punishment.

Overall, this was a fascinating and informative book. I totally recommend this book if you are interested in ancient Egypt, history, or how ancient people lived.

NetGalley, Ashley Brooker

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fun and informative, history buffs of all ages will find time well spent in reading this book!! A definite keeper for me!!

NetGalley, Heather Bennett

Charlotte Booth puts the reader right into ancient Egypt, as a person who was living there at the time. This readable book is packed with information. There is a section on history followed by many sections on every day life. For example, these include food and diet, getting a job, beliefs and rituals,staying healthy, stepping out in style, passing time in the capital an obeying the laws. The book also includes maps, illustrations, timelines and more.

I loved this book with its deeply engaging take on history.

NetGalley, Joyce Laudon

This book provides a lot of information about life in Ancient Egypt - from pyramid construction, to social hierarchy, to clothing, jobs, games, foods, etc. It has a lot of interesting facts about that time of life.

NetGalley, Beth Hunsberger

How To Survive In Ancient Egypt: the title alone makes us curious. And indeed, it turned out to be more fascinating than I originally thought. It's highly informative that I would choose this as my go-to book if ever I wanted to look up history on Ancient Egypt. It's got everything.

NetGalley, Julie Angela Yu

If you are a fan of Ancient Egyptian history you will likely enjoy this highly comprehensive guide ‘How to survive in Ancient Egypt’. Specifically covering the period of Amenhotep III, who ruled between 1385BCE and 1349BCE (Before the Common Era) this survival guide covers everything from food and working to procreation and fashion. I found the unique style of this book to be both humorous and fun as well informative as it covered a lot of things that you don’t tend to see in your average reference book or documentary. An insightful look into Egyptian life!

NetGalley, Felicity Mather

What an interesting book! Very entertaining. It made me want to read up more on Egypt, its history and literature. I breezed through this book, as it is only 100 pages or so and the writing is very conversational. Easy to read.

NetGalley, Jimbo Pantas

When we think of ancient Egypt, we all think of the mummies and the mighty pyramids. Unlike ancient Rome, whose daily life we can somehow imagine - also and above all because Rome has been inhabited throughout its long history - it is as if the whole of ancient Egypt is a mummy, something inscrutable and immobile in time. Thanks to this book and its original setting, instead, ancient Egypt becomes alive, reserving for us a series of incredible surprises.
A really advisable reading for those who want to "travel" in history.

NetGalley, Maria Grazia Beltrami

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a must-read for anyone interested in time travel or those history buffs who also participate in cosplay. Maybe not a popular costume to wear at Renaissance Faires, there are numerous people who love to be as accurate as possible when doing re-enactments or cosplay (dressing up as your favorite character), which has extended out to anything a person is interested in. Even costume makers, seamstresses, or even tailors would find most of this book relevant to what they do. Very detailed and informative while not boring the reader in the least.

NetGalley, Mary Antzak

This book was a lot of fun, and I mean a lot of fun. Probably two prerequisites (1) An interest in Ancient History and (2) a vivid imagination. Tick, tick,

How to Survive in Ancient Egypt, by Charlotte Booth, asks the reader to become a visitor to ancient Thebes - modern Luxor - in the magnificent River Nile, during the period 1360 BCE. This is a period of Ancient Period, known as the glory days, under Amenhotep III in the 18th dynasty who reigned between 1386 BCE and 1349 BCE.

Firstly, the Author - Charlotte Booth is a qualified Egyptologist and has authored a number of books on the subject. She teaches hieroglyphs and Egyptology so she seems to know what she's banging on about.

So I strapped on my board shorts, Led Zeppelin T-shirt and Crocs and took my flight from Cairns in Far North Queensland to Thebes - via Cairo and Singapore of course.

Booth paints a lively picture of this bustling region, the fertile borders of the Nile, rich in people and produce. She asks the reader to participate here and fire up our minds-eye and imagine we need to look for a job, a house, feed and clothe ourselves. As a dreamer - this came very easy to me, so I played my part and was richly rewarded.

There are so many interesting sections and chapters in this book I can only highlight a few of them.

Pyramids: We learn what they are, why they were and where they are. I found it particularly interesting to learn the earliest pyramids (2600 BCE) were the step pyramids of Djosser at Saqqara (a 5 day walk from Thebes - glad I kept hold of my Crocs!). I got to see these beautiful structures which were the precursors of the smooth walled Pyramids we are used to seeing.

Cheese: During my walk to these structures I was able to feast on beautiful cheeses, made from cows, goats and sheep. Later when I returned, it was also interesting to learn the oldest 'lump' of cheese was later found in 2018 in a Saqqara tomb and was aged for an incredible 3,200 years. Amazing!!

Professional Mourners: I had a quiet chuckle, and I had to be discrete so as not to cause offence. But I realised many of the mourners in a middle class funeral I stumbled on where in fact professional mourners. These people were paid to scream, cry and rip their clothes off and tear their hair out to show how well-loved the deceased was. What??

Perfume: So as to smell half-decent at various parties I attended (I proved to be a bit of a novelty, due to my accent) - I wore Perfumed Cones on my head - I helped make these, using animal fat and flower petals. It took a while, but after adding many layers and flowers, and when their bouquet overpowered the rancid fat - I was good to go. These cones melted as the evening progressed, released a beautiful, enchanting aroma.

Medicine: At one stage, after devouring some - admittedly - aged poultry, I needed to seek a remedy for indigestion. It was swiftly dealt with, after consulting the local priest who gave me a mixture of, crushed hog's tooth and the dough of four sweet cakes. I ate them for four days and was fixed - I think.

I learned what to eat, what types of jobs were available (I applied to be a village scribe, but ended up being a Mourner), how to pray, how to stay healthy and so, so much more. The book has many excellent photos to help you picture what was happening.

I was really enjoyed this. Apart from being educational, it proved to be a blast.

4 Stars

NetGalley, Mark Porton

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What a fun and informative read. It talks about the life of Ancient Egyptian at time of XVIII dynast as it was a guide for an expat.
It's well researched, full of facts and informations, and I liked the style of writing and the humour.
I appreciated it doesn't talk about kings or aristocracy but about the life of the population.
I couldn't put it down and I'd be happy to read other books by this author.
Strongly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was such a joy to read.

As a self confessed Egyptology geek, I often get frustrated at the over simplifying you can find in books. Although the idea is to make them accessible for everyone, it seems to defeat the objective of learning something new. The fact that this book went as far as to contain the transliteration of words made me so very happy, and I will be bombarding everyone with this as a recommendation. Moving in Egyptology circles, there is always discussion over what books we can buy for those we are trying to convert.

Well written, entertaining, and just as interesting to someone who has loved Egypt for over twenty years, this book deserves a lot of happy praise, and will be of huge benefit to the world of educating the next generation.

NetGalley, Erika Davies-Budgen

I enjoyed this detailed look into the life of a somewhat average newcomer to ancient Egypt. It provided interesting tidbits about where you might find a place to live, a job, how to dress/ hygiene, religion, entertainment, law enforcement.

This book would be for anyone that loves Egypt. Much more is known about kings and well off people, so it is fun and refreshing to see how others lived. It gave reasoning behind different things- like why Egyptians wore kohl on their eyes. Great fun!

NetGalley, Dawn Duffey

This unique look at life in ancient Egypt imagines the reader has been thrust back into life there and shows how they would survive. From where to live, what to wear, eat and say, how to find work, how to stay alive in perilous times, even what to do with leisure time. This unique format allows readers to immerse themselves in the day to day life of an ancient Egyptian, to imagine what life might have been like in one of the most storied cultures on earth.

NetGalley, Rosemary Smith

About Charlotte Booth

Charlotte Booth is a freelance writer with a PhD in Egyptology. She has had numerous books and articles published on all aspects of Egyptology and lives in Wiltshire with her partner, her Bengal cat and the escapologist hamster.

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