Zahi Hawass as an Author

Otranto

Ad Honorem
May 2013
2,083
Netherlands
First, I hope he is doing well and, with the regime of the Muslim Brotherhood out of the way (for now), will not be anymore persecuted.

Watching him as a teenager on the Discovery Channel in the late 90's, I always thought he was a fascinating character, so full of passion, and back then made history interesting for me. Obviously he is a great entertainer, but how good is he as an author and historian?

I am a novice when it comes to Egyptian history. The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson has been the most detailed book I've read about Egypt. Now I'm looking for a light and accurate read. Is Hawass a good candidate? Which of his books can you recommend?
 

Ancientgeezer

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
8,894
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
First, I hope he is doing well and, with the regime of the Muslim Brotherhood out of the way (for now), will not be anymore persecuted.

Watching him as a teenager on the Discovery Channel in the late 90's, I always thought he was a fascinating character, so full of passion, and back then made history interesting for me. Obviously he is a great entertainer, but how good is he as an author and historian?

I am a novice when it comes to Egyptian history. The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson has been the most detailed book I've read about Egypt. Now I'm looking for a light and accurate read. Is Hawass a good candidate? Which of his books can you recommend?
Hawass has taken over Egyptology. Everyone who wants to excavate or even study in Egypt must go through Hawass. All discoveries must be announced by Hawass and people who cross him are denied future access, nit only to antiquities, but to the country. He is reported to "write" articles for National Geographic in return for $200,000 per year honorarium, but how much is actually his own work has been debated.
There is the famous case of the banning of Joann Fletcher a British Egyptologist who has made a lot of TV programmes. Joann Fletcher - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Zahi Hawass | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine



http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/13/arts/design/13tut.html?ex=1276315200&en=806be8e7b8300fe7&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&_r=0
 

Otranto

Ad Honorem
May 2013
2,083
Netherlands
But, in your link Fletcher is said to have broken an established code of ethics by not reporting her findings.

I suppose Hawass is someone you love or hate. Yes, he is arrogant, but it is an honest arrogance. From the New York Times article you linked to: "I'm not doing this for fame, I'm already famous. I'm not doing this for power. I don't need power. I'm doing this because I'm the only one who can do it." LOL :lol: Sorry, but I think this is just beautiful.

However, the accusation as to how much of his work is really his does worry me. I do not want to read a ghost writer.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,014
Italy, Lago Maggiore
As a author?

I rate him in the mass, nothing particularly special, to say all.

Consider his position: today it's well probable that a good part of his works is written by others.

A part this, I remember I noted Dr. Hawass also when I was dealing with the activity of SRI in Egypt and his involvement in the project to put a golden pyramidion on the Great Pyramid at the midnight of 1999-2000 was quite curious.

It's absolutely true that he is nationalistic about Ancient Egypt [he wanted Egypt to ask for the return of some very important finds from foreign museums ... or to get copyrights on expositions] and that he "filters" the academical institutions which access to Egyptian soil.

In other words, he feels the political pressure and he is, at the end, a good politician, able to find an equilibrium between tourism necessities, national interests, foreign lobbies, museums ...

Better as a politician than as an author.
 

Otranto

Ad Honorem
May 2013
2,083
Netherlands
Consider his position: today it's well probable that a good part of his works is written by others.
That is certainly off-putting, if true, and something I cannot respect. I do not mind if he is not a very good author, as long as he is accurate, but his works should be written completely by him (besides working with a proofreader of course).
 
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AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,014
Italy, Lago Maggiore
That is certainly off-putting, if true, and something I cannot respect. I do not mind if he is not a very good author, as long as he is accurate, but his works should be written completely by him (besides working with a proofreader of course).
If you check his own site [you can google to find it, I won't put a link to a blog of a professional on Historum, it's also commercial], in the section publications, articles ... you will note that now he overall edits, supports, cooperates. His name is on a lot of works, but the content is not exactly his own content.
 

Davidius

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
4,993
Pillium
Yes, he is arrogant, but it is an honest arrogance.
According to his ex colleagues he is anything but honest. Rumours of kickbacks abound and he is accused of making even minor members of his staff grovel to him and do things that he should be doing as part of his job.
When the Arab Spring began he tried to make himself look like one of Mubarak's victims but no one bought that so he accused his colleagues of treachery instead.
Nice guy!:confused:
 
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