cover image 1177 B.C.: A Graphic History of the Year Civilization Collapsed

1177 B.C.: A Graphic History of the Year Civilization Collapsed

Eric H. Cline and Glynnis Fawkes. Princeton Univ, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-691-21302-6

This playful graphic adaptation of historian Cline’s study of the late Bronze Age employs cheerful art by Fawkes (Charlotte Brontë Before Jane Eyre) to bring archaeological scholarship to life. Together Cline and Fawkes tackle one of history’s great mysteries: the sudden fall of the Egyptian empire in 1177 BCE. Readers are guided by Pel, a son of the mysterious invaders known as the “Sea Peoples” who attacked Egypt, and Shesha, a young Egyptian scribe. “It’s the late 12th century B.C., and the world Grandpa describes is gone!” Pel exclaims, and with Shesha’s help he sets out to discover what happened to the flourishing empire their elders remember. They have a lot of ground to cover, and the narrative jumps rapidly through time and space as it attempts to illuminate interconnected cultures, rulers, military campaigns, and natural disasters. Cline and Fawkes periodically step in to explain how archaeologists learn about the past and discuss the historical evidence for events like the Trojan War and the biblical story of Exodus. The graphic format allows readers to envision the ancient world, as Fawkes fills the pages with meticulously researched drawings of cities, people, art, food, and fashion. Her loose, colorful picture-book art is welcoming to all ages. This ambitious and detailed visual history rewards multiple readings. Agent (for Fawkes): Anjali Singh, Ayesha Pande Literary. (Apr.)