Mirage: Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt

Paperback | December 9, 2008

byNina Burleigh

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Two hundred years ago, only the most reckless or eccentric Europeans had dared to traverse the unmapped territory of the modern-day Middle East. But in 1798, more than 150 French engineers, artists, doctors, and scientists—even a poet and a musicologist—traveled to the Nile Valley under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte and his invading army. Hazarding hunger, hardship, uncertainty, and disease, Napoleon's "savants" risked their lives in pursuit of discovery. The first large-scale interaction between Europeans and Muslims in the modern era, the audacious expedition was both a triumph and a disaster, resulting in finds of immense historical and scientific importance (including the ruins of the colossal pyramids and the Rosetta Stone) and in countless tragic deaths through plague, privation, madness, or violence.

Acclaimed journalist Nina Burleigh brings readers back to the landmark adventure at the dawn of the modern era that ultimately revealed the deepest secrets of ancient Egypt to a curious continent.

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From the Publisher

Two hundred years ago, only the most reckless or eccentric Europeans had dared to traverse the unmapped territory of the modern-day Middle East. But in 1798, more than 150 French engineers, artists, doctors, and scientists—even a poet and a musicologist—traveled to the Nile Valley under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte and his invadin...

Nina Burleigh is the author of four books. She is a noted journalist whose articles have appeared inTime, theWashington Post,New Yorkmagazine,Elle, and many other publications. She lives in New York City.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 80 inPublished:December 9, 2008Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0060597682

ISBN - 13:9780060597689

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Customer Reviews of Mirage: Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Excellent Account of an Important Campaign Many people have read about Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt and of the many scientists and engineers who accompanied him. However, many history books usually allot but a few pages perhaps to this important event, which led, among other things, to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. The author of this book has done an excellent job of focusing entirely on Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign with particular emphasis on the many “savants” who were charged with studying and documenting this ancient land. The many hardships that they endured are vividly described, as are their relationships with the French military and the local inhabitants. The author’s writing style is accessible, friendly, authoritative and most engaging, making this a work that is difficult to put down. This account indeed forms an excellent link between the decaying ruins of an ancient civilization and the birth of modern Egyptology. This is a book that can be enjoyed by everyone, but history buffs, particularly those with a fascination for Egypt, will likely relish it the most.
Date published: 2008-02-27

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Editorial Reviews

“Burleigh spotlights the Indiana Jones-esque scientists who joined Napoleon’s Egyptian invasion during the late 18th century.”