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Exotic places; Atlas of Ancient Egypt, by John Baines and Jaromir Malek. New York: Facts on File. $29.95

This survey is lavishly illustrated, not only with photographs of art and architecture but with schematic drawings that clarify the construction fo pyramids and etymology of Egyptian writing.

The authors, both Egyptologists, have organized the book in reference-work style, which permits one to dip easily in and out of it.

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Part 1, for example, thoroughly examines ancient Egypt's history, geography, art and architecture; the second section proceeds from Upper Egypt to the Delta in the manner of a travel guide, with archaeological sites carefully enumerated and described.

Fortunately the authors go beyond the cliches, yet their prose style seems often dry and colorless, packing in too much information at the expense of readability.

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