Review by Choice Review
Bertman's compact, clearly written handbook, part of the "Facts on File Library of World History" series, presents a broad overview of life over three millennia (3500 BCE to 500 BCE) during which the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians lived. Beginning with a chapter on the region's geography, the volume continues with chapters on its archaeology and history, government and society, religion and myth, language, writing and literature, architecture and engineering, sculpture and other arts, economy, transportation and trade, military affairs, everyday life, sacred scripture, and finally, the legacy of Mesopotamia. Each chapter concludes with a list of further readings. A chronological table, a one-page list of museums with major Mesopotamian collections, a 34-page bibliography, and an index complete the volume. It has more than 100 black-and-white illustrations, including maps, photos, tables, and drawings. This handbook will be useful to librarians as a reference tool and to students, teachers, and general readers at all levels for its wealth of readily accessible information on ancient Mesopotamian life and times. Summing Up: Recommended. All collections. M. R. Dittemore Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
Bertman, professor emeritus of classics at the University of Windsor, has made a useful contribution to Facts On File's Handbook to Life series. Covering the lives of Assyrians, Babylonians, and Sumerians from around 3500 to 500 B.C.E., the book is arranged topically, with chapters on geography, archaeology, government, religion, language and literature, arts, and daily life, among other subjects. Each chapter has citations to the extensive bibliography. Most of the works in the larger bibliography are technical and specialized, but a Note to the Reader lists several popular works that could be found in a larger public library. Bertman's writing is formal but accessible, with touches of dry humor. Subsections within the chapters deal with more specific topics. In the chapter on government, there are capsule biographies of political leaders, mostly kings. The chapter on archaeology provides a list of archaeologists who have made major discoveries in the region. Gods and goddesses are described in the chapter on religion. There is an interesting concluding chapter about the legacy of Mesopotamia and how it endures. A brief section on Aramaic-speaking Chaldeans who migrated from an ancient village in Iraq to Detroit in the twentieth century suggests that the legacy is more alive than we realize. Bertman notes, too, how many archaeological sites have been put at risk by recent political and military actions in the region. The book is illustrated with black-and-white photographs and line drawings, which should copy well. Appendixes include a chronological table and a list of museums with major Mesopotamian collections. A useful purchase for medium-sized to large public libraries and academic libraries with undergraduate Middle Eastern ancient history classes. -- RBB Copyright 2003 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.