[Download] ➻ Pyramid ✤ David Macaulay – Horse-zine.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “Pyramid

  1. says:

    Pyramid is another of David Macaulay’s popular children’s books published in the 1970s, all of which I think are still in print.

    The books feature black and white drawings, occupying most of a page (sometimes spread over two pages) of the large format (12 ½" x p 3/8") hardbound books. Explanatory text is inserted in the margins. The text explains the drawings, and gives an overview of how people of the time were able, over long periods, to accomplish the engineering tasks needed to build the featured constructions.

    This book tells of how a fictional pyramid would have been built in Egypt in the middle of the third millennium BC. The drawings depict, in addition to the main (Pharaoh's) pyramid, a smaller pyramid next to it (the Queen's) plus two separate temples built in the space between the Nile and the pyramids; the architectural plans of all the buildings, and the rather simple tools used to accomplish the work. The text explains the details of how these tasks were carried out, the order in which things were done, the auxiliary tasks which needed doing to support the main effort, etc.

    A pyramid of this size (it is compared to the great Pyramid at Giza) was built using ramps (built with rubble held together with Nile mud) along all four sides of the pyramid. As courses of giant blocks rose from ground level, these ramps ran around and around the pyramid, providing separate paths which allowed the separate sides of the pyramid of receive the pre-sculpted blocks as the levels rose. Eventually, near the top, there was no room for all four ramps, two were abandoned - the two left allowed blocks to be moved up one ramp, and the transport sleds to be moved down the other.

    Macaulay's books are very accessible to younger readers with an interest in history, engineering, or cultures of the past. They are also satisfying read for adults. The simple illustrations set the books apart from other non-fiction, and narrow in on their very narrow subject in a way that would be difficult to find at all in other books. They're also wonderful books to read to youngsters with an interest in historical things. This I know from experience.

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    Previous review: Seven Against Thebes
    Next review: A Mencken Chrestomathy
    Older review: Values in a Universe of Chance

    Previous library review: The Soccer War
    Next library review: Carlton in Melbourne, Oz, a book of photos

  2. says:

    (Same review for Castle, Cathedral, and Pyramid, which I read all around the same time)

    I greatly enjoyed Randall Munroe's What If. It reminded me in some ways of David Macaulay's books, which I read as a child. Inspired and nostalgic, I went out and acquired several of them, and decided to spell some of my "grown-up" reading with them:

    - Castle is about a British castle in the 1200s-1300s
    - Cathedral is about a French cathedral in the 1200s-1300s
    - Pyramid is about an Egyptian pyramid in the 2400s BC

    These are picture books that trace the construction of the title buildings from start to finish. They are technically fiction - the buildings and characters are made-up - but much of the books is comprised of architectural and historical details that are based on reality. The buildings in these books all take several decades to complete, and Macaulay beautifully captures the joy of building and engineering. There is a glossary at the end of each, a feature for which I am always grateful.

    My favorites were the intermittent illustrations that illustrated the same view of the building at different intervals of time. Cathedral stands out here above the others; there are a few extra of these "t=1, t=2, ..." drawings. I also thought Cathedral featured the best illustrations overall, perhaps because of the larger number of intricacies and ornate decorations.

  3. says:

    I might have read this years ago, but I couldn't remember for sure. This is worth a second read, if that's what this was. I appreciate David Macaulay's skill at making things I am not terribly interested in very readable for me. I find the pyramids themselves very interesting, but all the minute details of construction could turn into a chore to read with a less adept author. Macaulay's illustrations help a lot with the details and add to my interest in the subject. I was very fascinated in the details of mummification.

    Reading about the step-by-step process of building a pyramid made me wonder at the great feats humans can accomplish with enough manpower, time, and expertise! I'm glad Macaulay explained in the beginning that "because life on earth was relatively short, the Egyptians built their houses of mud. They built their tombs of stone since life after death was eternal." Knowing that helped me not to think as much about the huge amount of resources, time, and manpower devoted to what amounts to the final resting place for one king - even though it is an incredible and amazing structure I would love to see sometime!

  4. says:

    A brisk journey through the construction process of one of the most endlessly fascinating monuments in human history, sure to captivate audiences both young and old alike.

  5. says:

    The pyramids in Egypt remain extremely impressive structures, there is still debate over how such “primitive” people could move millions of large stones in such a precise manner. A large part of the debate is based on an unwillingness to admit that people that lived four thousand years ago were actually smart and capable.
    This book, based on knowledge and logical deduction, demonstrates how the Egyptians were able to quarry, transport and place the massive number of large blocks of stone into their precise locations. It is based on having a large number of laborers willing to work long days, years with which to complete the task and high-quality engineering expertise. All of these were present in ancient Egypt, based on a strong central government centered around the Pharaoh.
    Written at the level of the late elementary school child and profusely illustrated, this book is a worthy addition to all elementary school libraries.

  6. says:

    Pyramid is a meticulously illustrated guide to building a pyramid, from sketching a plan and surveying the site to placing the capstone and preparing Pharoah's body. Macaulay's writing is succinct, his detailed drawings are beautiful and his insight into Egyptian life and customs in 2470 BC is phenomenal. This instructive book will keep our kids coming back for more time and time again over the coming years. 

  7. says:

    This is a fascinating book. While it does have a story of sorts -- a pharaoh, knowing he will eventually die, has his pyramid built -- it's not really about that. It's about the incredible drawings and engaging way of passing on the information about how pyramids and such were built and how that was even possible before power tools and so on. My fifth grader read this as part of his school work because it is a very look way to learn information about the ancient Egyptians. 

  8. says:

    Very informational!! But I was surprised at the accuracy and detail of the black and white drawings. I don't typically care for drawings; I prefer the actual pictures, but they were really good. Great information and would be perfect for writing a report, research paper, or gathering information to use another way.

  9. says:

    Pyramid is surprisingly technical for a children's book. The illustrations on every page give an amazing amount of clarity to the making of a mathematical wonder that somehow no collage grade architectural book has thought to duplicate.

  10. says:

    Was not as insightful as I'd hoped it would be, but a neat description of how the process/timing of building the great pyramid might have played out.

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