By Paul Kriwaczek
Thomas Dunne Books,$27.99, 310 pages
Ancient Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq, is the birthplace of modern civilization. Long before China, Egypt, Greece or Persia, mankind developed the first cities, agriculture and writing in Mesopotamia. It started off in ancient Ur and then developed into the Sumerian culture. Located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Mesopotamia was a bustling and thriving civilization that would span the Fertile Crescent. In this book the author explores the world of this ancient culture, how it lasted for so long, and the impact it had on empires that followed it. Ancient Mesopotamia is a fascinating place; it is often ignored for Egypt and Greece, even though it is older and lasted longer. Writing as we know it started in Ancient Sumeria and moved throughout the entire empire, eventually developing into an alphabet, a major human advancement. Eventually after thousands of years, the civilization slowly declined and was eventually taken over by the Persian Empire.
This work is a bit of a mess; it’s full of anachronisms, faulty logic and substandard writing. The author tries to bring this culture alive to the modern reader, but in the end is confusing more than anything else.
Reviewed by Kevin Winter