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History Begins at Sumer: Thirty-Nine Firsts…

History Begins at Sumer: Thirty-Nine Firsts in Recorded History (original 1956; edition 1988)

by Samuel Noah Kramer (Author)

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Title:History Begins at Sumer: Thirty-Nine Firsts in Recorded History
Authors:Samuel Noah Kramer (Author)
Info:University of Pennsylvania Press (1988), Edition: 3rd, 416 pages
Collections:Your library

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History Begins at Sumer: Thirty-Nine Firsts in Recorded History by Samuel Noah Kramer (1956)


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History Begins at Sumer was the first book I've read about Sumer, and it's fifty years old so I'm sure there are more up to date books and considering the very specialized purpose there must also be more complete books on the subject. What I loved about this is that it was written by an honest-to-god Sumerologist that was very much in the middle of the research happening. Some of the chapters were about texts that had only been translated by him at the time. It also seemed to me that there's always a bit more passion when the writer has such a close relationship to the material.

Each chapter is dedicated to a notable bit of history or development in Sumer drawing exclusively from primary sources, often focusing on just one in a chapter. This gave me a wonderful introduction to a wide cross section of Sumerian culture without the sacrifice of nuance and analysis that so often occurs in books that attempt to present a complete history of such epic subjects.

Reading History Begins at Sumer certainly hasn't left me a mini expert in Sumeria, that really isn't the point of the book. It has however whet my appetite to continue reading the ancient history of the area and gave me enough of the foundation in the subject to make me feel more comfortable picking up more formidable books on the subject. ( )
2 vote fundevogel | Apr 19, 2010 |
For anyone with even a CASUAL exposure to the riches of Sumer, the current and endless pre-occupation with idiocy which continues to prevent development of the archeology of Iraq is simply unforgiveable.
  keylawk | Jan 17, 2007 |
Although the information may be dated in places, it is still interesting to read what people were thinking 4 to 6 thousand years ago. ( )
  Poemblaze | Aug 14, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812212762, Paperback)

Which civilization had the first system of law? The first formal educational system? The first tax cut? The first love song? The answers were found in excavations of ancient Sumer, a society so developed, resourceful, and enterprising that it, in a sense, created history. The book presents a cross section of the Sumerian "firsts" in all the major fields of human endeavor, including government and politics, education and literature, philosophy and ethics, law and justice, agriculture and medicine, even love and family.

History Begins at Sumer is the classic account of the achievements of the Sumerians, who lived in what is now southern Iraq during the third millennium B.C. They were the developers of the cuneiform system of writing, perhaps their greatest contribution to civilization, which allowed laws and literature to be recorded for the first time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:15 -0400)

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