Tutankhamun: The Mystery of the Boy King
Author: Zahi Hawass
Pages: 64
Publisher/Date: National Geographic/2005
ISBN: 0792283546
Age Levels: 8-12

Book Review

King Tut is a perennial classroom favorite. There is something about the boy king which intrigues students and invites exploration. The curious will find many available books on the subject. Zahi Hawass' Tutankhamun, however, rises above all others, ranking at the top of our list for non-fiction titles on the topic.

Hawass is eminently qualified to write this book. As the Director of Excavations at the Giza Pyramids and the Valley of the Golden Mummies, Hawass brings a sensibility and point of view that other books on the subject lack.

The book begins with an introduction titled "Howard Carter, King Tut, and Me," and sets the tone for the rest of the text.
The discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamun of Egypt was one of archaeology’s greatest moments. I know how English archaeologist Howard Carter must have felt when he discovered the stairway leading to the tomb on a November morning in 1922. Of course, he must have been filled the excitement . . . Imagine the moment, three weeks after the discovery, when he peered into the tomb itself for the first time and saw 'everywhere the gleam of gold!' Perhaps he imagined he could almost speak to the people who had buried the young king and surrounded him with precious gold more than 3,000 years earlier.
The remainder of the book is divided into six chapters beginning with "The Great Discovery" and ending with "After King Tut." Throughout, Hawass does an exceptional job of weaving together factual information, solid inferences, and strands of his own story. Here, for example, is a description of the day in January of 2005 when the mummy was scheduled to be examined using a CAT scanner.
The afternoon when I went to the Valley of the Kings was gray and cloudy. . . A little while after we arrived, there was a huge rainstorm, and people began to worry about how we could get the king safely from his tomb to the machine. I went to Tut’s tomb and opened the lid of his sarcophagus and coffin. The moment when I gazed on the face of the boy king is one I will never forget. I was looking into the face of history.
Browsers as well as budding Egyptologists will find much of interest in this fascinating book. Hawass describes Tutankhamun's life of luxury, his interests (sports), his coronation, his responsibilities, and reign. Too, Hawass provides context by including descriptions of Egyptian life in general as well as Egyptian mythology.

The book is beautifully designed and lushly illustrated with National Geographic-quality photographs throughout. A timeline, bibliography, and index are appended.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2005 Education Oasis http://www.educationoasis.com

About the Author

Zahi Hawass is a world-famous Egyptian archaeologist and the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. He has been excavating around the pyramids at Giza for the last 20 years. He also digs at Saqqara and in the Bahariya Oasis. He has made many major finds and has had many adventures. His most important discoveries are the Tombs of the Pyramid Builders at Giza and the Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya.

Dr. Hawass studied archaeology in Egypt and the United States. He is the author and editor of many books and articles, lectures widely, and has made numerous television appearances. He received the First Class Award for Arts and Sciences from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for the Sphinx Conservation Project. He is a recipient of the Golden Plate Award form the American Academy of Achievement, and he is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.

Dr. Hawass lives in Cairo, Egypt, where he has an office just steps from the pyramids.