Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt, was the site of monuments and pyramids around 2600 B.C. Under the rule of the Muslim Fatimids in 969, the city became a center of wealth, commerce, and intellectual life. During the Middle Ages Cairo enjoyed a period of prosperity and was the center of trade for goods from India to the European market. By the 1500's the city was weakened by decades of plague and famine. The next centuries brought occupation by Ottomans, French, and the British. Egyptian independence in 1952, ended more than two thousand years of foreign rule. Today Cairo, situated on the tip of the Nile delta, is a center of Arabic culture and learning. More than 13 million people live there and tourists from all over the word flock to the city. This book is a fascinating account of this rich and varied history, which makes this book a terrific resource for research. Excellent drawings, paintings, and historical and modern photographs make it a visual treat. Although only one small map is included, there is a time line and index available. Eleven other cities are featured in the "Cities through Time" series. 2001, Runestone Press/Lerner, $25.26. Ages 9 to 14. Reviewer: Laura Hummel
Gr 4-8-Both of these titles provide general overviews of the cities' histories, including political, religious, and social background. Even though neither volume offers new information, the books trace the cities' evolutions from early beginnings to modern times, a task few other works tackle. Each of six periods is addressed in a number of double-page spreads. For example, topics covered under "Early Cairo" are "Marriage and Family," "At Home," "Life on the Nile," and "Cairo under Saladin." The roles of women are given special treatment in both books. Thorough time lines are appended. The many full-color reproductions, photographs of sites, labeled drawings, and quotations from primary sources enhance and add credibility to the narratives. While the illustrations are only of average quality, they communicate a good deal of information and add visual appeal. Supplemental purchases where needed.-Betina Gardner, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.