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I know, I know, I can hear you now : why in the name of God would I want to read 300 pages about mummies ?  Well, let me just briefly try to convince you that you do want to.  First of all, Heather Pringle is a terrific writer.  This is popular science writing as it should be done--witty, interesting and accessible.  Second, the mummies themselves are fascinating.  Though we tend to think of just the Egyptians and old horror movies (which, amazingly enough, she was not a fan of as a youth), a wide range of cultures--including our own, as Pringle shows in the very amusing final chapter--have been obsessed by the idea of preserving the body even after death.  The mummies offer her the opportunity to look into each of these cultures and into a variety of topics, including disease, murder, drugs and other equally juicy matters.  Finally, the scientists and researchers who study the mummies are a colorful and interesting group in their own right and Pringle, though sympathetic to them, has a good sense of what makes them entertaining.  Just trust me on this one; read the book; it's great fun.


Grade: (A-)


See also:

Book-related and General Links:
    -BOOK SITE : The Mummy Congress, by Heather Pringle (Hyperion)
    -Discover Magazine (Contributor)
    -Science Magazine (Contributor)
    -Canadian Geographic
    -ESSAY : THE SICKNESS OF MUMMIES  (Heather Pringle, Discover, December 01 1998)
    -ESSAY : The Cradle of Cash : When money arose in the ancient cities of Mesopotamia, it profoundly and permanently changed civilization. (Heather Pringle, Discover)
    -ESSAY : The Slow Birth of Agriculture : New methods show that around the world, people began cultivating some crops long before they embraced full-scale farming, and that crop cultivation and village life often did not go hand in hand (Heather Pringle, Science)
    -ESSAY : Reading the Signs of Ancient Animal Domestication (Heather Pringle, Science)
    -ESSAY : A Few Old Bones to Pick (Heather Pringle, Literascape)
    -ESSAY : Arctic time traveller (Heather Pringle, Canadian Geographic)
    -ESSAY : TEMPLES OF DOOM : Human sacrifice has long been one of history's unprovable secrets. Then Steve Bourget began digging at the Pyramid of the Moon in Peru (Heather Pringle, Discover)
    -ESSAY : Secrets of the Alpaca Mummies : Did the ancient Inca make the finest woolen cloth the world has ever known? (Heather Pringle, Discover)
    -ARCHIVES : "heather pringle" (Find Articles)
    -ARCHIVES : "heather pringle" (Mag Portal)
    -REVIEW : of The Mummy Congress (Guy Gugliotta, Washington Post)
    -REVIEW : of The Mummy Congress by Heather Pringle (James M. Deem, Mummy Tombs)
    -REVIEW : of The Mummy Congress (Phil Baker, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW : of The Mummy Congress (Francis Spufford, This is London)
    -REVIEW : of The Mummy Congress. By Heather Pringle (The Economist)
    -REVIEW : of The Mummy Congress , by Heather Pringle (Mike Lepore for
    -REVIEW : of The Mummy Congress (Julie Finnin Day, Christian Science Monitor)
    -REVIEW : of In Search of Ancient North America by Heather Pringle (Geoff Olson, Literascape)

    -Archaeology Magazine
    -Archaeology's Dig : A magazine for kids
    -Discover Archaeology
    -Geo Magazine
    -National Geographic
    -New Scientist
    -National Geographic
    -Mummy Tombs
    -San Diego Museum of Man
    -Bodies of the Bog (Archaeology)
    -ARCHIVES : "mummies research" (Find Articles)
    -FORUM : Ask Dr. Dig : about mummies (Archaeology)