I’ve had a book sitting on my shelves for years and never thought about doing a review. Why now? Categorizing my books from one cabinet to another, I came across “Pyramid” by David Macauly, which immediately reminded me of the fascinating information it held.
In the Western world, whenever Egypt is mentioned, camels and pyramids come to mind. Of course, “Pyramid” is about those mysterious structures by the Nile River that have raised questions from scientists about their construction for years. More specifically, “Pyramid” digs into the minutia of planning and building a structure.
Although the pyramid in the story is imaginary, the methods used are in agreement with most Egyptologist even from the planning stages to completion. Planning such a large structure often took months of surveying and insuring that the temple was the right size, faced the right direction and, more importantly, to insure that the pyramid did not exceed the size of more cherished Pharaoh, as the more honored the pharaoh, the larger the pyramid.
The tale starts with the crowning of a new pharaoh in 2470 BC. Within two years, the new Pharaoh began planning for the end of his life on earth. Immediately, several thousand men, including stonecutters, masons, surveyors, mortar makers, carpenters and general laborers were brought into the planned area. When it became impossible to farm between July and November a larger force of 50,000 men was drafted to work on the site.
Before work could start, a list of the necessary stone was made along with the proper size. It took nearly 30 years to complete the pyramid and over a million blocks. By comparison, The Petronas Towers in Lumpur, Malaysia only took six years between 1992 and 1997 from planning to occupancy.
This is a very short overview of a small book that fascinated me the moment I started reading. It is highly readable complete with informative illustrations. By the way, it’s only 79 pages.