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Akhenaten: King of Egypt

The revolutionary cult of sun-worship that Akhenaten introduced, and such contentious issues as the role of Nefertiti as a goddess, the dominant part played by plague during Akhenaten's reign, and likely events of the king's twilight years are treated with new insight and set within the framework of an authoritative overview of the entire period.
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Until recently, the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten was considered a revolutionary reformer, an idealist and pacifist. But now his monotheism is seen as short-lived, quickly forgotten by the masses after he died; some scholars even consider him an atheist. The romantic image of his deep bond with queen Nefertiti was challenged when a secondary queen named Kiya turned up. We know more about Akhenaten's incest with his daughters, and there is much speculation that the effeminate visual representations of this broad-hipped pharaoh signify that he suffered from a pituitary disorder. In this careful survey of the archeological evidence, Aldred, author of Akhenaten, Pharaoh of Egypt, reviews controversies such as whether the king shared power with a co-regent and the meaning of the ``Amarna Letters,'' 350 cuneiform slabs. Over 100 photographs and sketches bring the latest finds to light. History Book Club and Macmillan Book Club selections. (July)

Respected Egyptologist Aldred offers a new study, valuable to scholar and layperson alike, of this much-studied Egyptian pharaohregarded as the precursor of Judaeo-Christian monotheism and ruler from 1358 to 1340 B.C. This informative, well-written and -illustrated book, is, in part, a summary of Aldred's numerous studies previously published, including some from his earlier Akhenaten: Pharaoh of Egypt (McGraw, 1968). Used are computer-assisted reconstructions of the Karnak temples, and examined are neglected evidence, such as a stone fragment concerned with the equally famous Queen Nefertiti, his wife. For Egyptologists, other antiquity students. History Book Club, Macmillan Book Club. Jackson P. Hershbell, Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis

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