Whatever images the word "mummy" may inspire in you, it won't hint at the variety in Bob Brier's wonderful Encyclopedia of Mummies. The entries range the spectrum from the 1955 spoof "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy," in which Universal Pictures parodied its own earlier movies, to the 17th-century sculptor Gaetano Zumbo, whose famously realistic wax sculptures of human beings turned out to include actual body parts merely covered in wax. Most of us know little about mummies beyond a vague memory of old movies in which the protagonist is unraveling. This book will cure that ignorance forever. Everything is here Anne Rice's novels, countless movies, the preservation of papal body parts so they will be handy on Resurrection Day, the film Psycho, bog mummies, the poet Seamus Heaney, comic books, an animal necropolis. Not to mention the number of historical figures who wound up mummified Lenin, Jeremy Bentham, Eva Peron. The bibliography is arranged by subject area and covers almost 30 pages. Appendices include a filmography of cinematic mummies and where you can see mummies in collections around the world.

You may have seen Bob Brier as host of The Learning Channel's series The Great Egyptians. Or you may know him as the author of many books and articles on the topic. But his most remarkable credit is that he is the first person since ancient times to successfully employ the techniques of the Egyptians to mummify a human body. The expertise and passion required for such a curious accomplishment explains the encylopedic knowledge demonstrated in this book.

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