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The Mummy Congress: Science, Obsession, and…

The Mummy Congress: Science, Obsession, and the Everlasting Dead (2001)

by Heather Pringle

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shortlisted 2001
writer's trust of canada pearson nonfiction prize
bc book prize
  mahallett | Aug 9, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book and learned a few things too. The text is easy to understand for someone outside the fields of study covered in this book. I like how each chapter is focused on one topic rather then trying to write a chronological piece. Being able to focus on parasites for an entire chapter made reading much easier than having to keep track of a bunch of names and dates. ( )
1 vote pussreboots | Oct 1, 2014 |
An absolutely fascinating account of all things mummy, from the debate over dissecting them to see what medical use they can be to the methods by which they were preserved, the various uses to which they have been put over the centuries, and more. It's also a very good profile of the scientists and historians who have devoted their lives to the study of these preserved humans. ( )
  JBD1 | Oct 24, 2013 |
Really fascinating book. I've always thought of mummies as the linen-wrapped folks from Egypt. They're really any person that is preserved by human means or by natural means.

She details where mummies have been found, how they were preserved and their culture. She also describes the researchers who study mummies and what studies are done.

Very cool book ( )
  IntrinsiclyMe | Apr 3, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
All the stories sparkle. Pringle is a crack-shot storyteller. She chooses the level of detail precisely, so that we see the virtual reality but do not lose the plot. . . So why doesn't ''The Mummy Congress'' get anywhere? All those lovely stories are only a list, in no particular order, unrelated except for their shared subject; they don't add up to any larger story.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786884630, Paperback)

Mummies fascinate us. As we peer at their withered flesh, we are glimpsing a type of immortality. Heather Pringle tells the stories of some of these "frail elders"--and the scientists who study them--in The Mummy Congress.

Pringle details the tension between the preservationists, who want to protect the ancient dead and refuse to unwrap them, and the dissectionists, who see mummies as a repository of scientific data waiting to be studied. She also introduces the reader to the preserved dead from around the world--from the bog bodies of northern Europe to the mysterious Caucasian-looking mummies from China's Tarim Basin, from Egyptians in linen shrouds to incorruptible Christian saints, and from Lenin in his Moscow mausoleum to Incan children found on Andean mountaintops.

Peppered with fascinating snippets of information--for example, for centuries artists were sold on a pigment called "mummy," a transparent brown made from ground-up mummies--The Mummy Congress makes for lively, if somewhat ghoulish reading. Highly recommended. --Sunny Delaney

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:34 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Science journalist Heather Pringle explores ancient customs of dealing with the dead, including the ancient Egyptian practice of embalming, horrifying sacrifices performed by South Americans indians, and the modern-day obsession with the preserved dead that has a long and bizarre history.--Container.… (more)

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