The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: An Extraordinary New Journey Through History's Greatest Treasures (Paperback)

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: An Extraordinary New Journey Through History's Greatest Treasures By Bettany Hughes Cover Image
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SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER • From the award-winning historian and broadcaster comes an immersive, awe-inspiring tour of the ancient sites that kindle our imagination and afford us a glimpse into our shared history

“This fascinating book is brimming with stories of people and places, all told with Bettany’s natural sense of wonder and adventure.” —Simon Sebag Montefiore, New York Times bestselling author of The World

For millennia, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World have been known for their aesthetic sublimity, ingenious engineering, and sheer, audacious magnitude: The Great Pyramids of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis, the Statue of Zeus, the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse at Alexandria. Echoing down time, each of these persists in our imagination as an emblem of the glory of antiquity, but beneath the familiar images is a surprising, revelatory history. Guiding us through it is historian Bettany Hughes, who has traveled to each of the sites to uncover the latest archaeological discoveries and bring these monuments and the distinct cultures that built them back to breathtaking life. Spellbinding, richly illustrated, and full of insight, The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is a journey into the indomitable ambition and creativity of the human spirit.

About the Author

Bettany Hughes is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster. Her previous books (Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities; Helen of Troy: The Story Behind the Most Beautiful Woman in the World; and The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life) were published to great critical acclaim and worldwide success. Hughes has made a number of factual films and documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, PBS, National Geographic, Discovery, The History Channel and ABC. She is a Research Fellow of King's College London and has been honoured with numerous awards including the Norton Medlicott Medal for History.

Praise For…

“A lively exploration of the ancient world, this fascinating book is brimming with stories of people and places, all told with Bettany’s natural sense of wonder and adventure.”
—Simon Sebag Montefiore, New York Times bestselling author of The World: A Family History of Humanity

“Bettany Hughes is the most perfect tour guide I know. Her boundless enthusiasm, clarity and learning combined with a matchless gift for storytelling bring the Wonders of the World leapingly alive. A wondrous wonderful achievement.” 
—Stephen Fry

“This fantastic new book from the brilliant Bettany Hughes . . . is a joy from the outset.”
—Peter Frankopan, bestselling author of The Earth Transformed
“This is an entrancing book, at once a love letter to the ancient world and a learned introduction to some of the most astonishing feats of imagination and engineering in human history. It is a pleasure to wander lost realms and inspect (mostly) vanished marvels through Bettany Hughes’ bright and erudite writing.” 
—Dan Jones, author of Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages

“Taking us on a truly fascinating journey through the ancient world, Bettany Hughes not only rebuilds the wonders themselves in the reader’s imagination, but also vividly conjures up the culture and environment in which they existed. It is a tale of people as well as places, and I loved learning about what the wonders meant to those who built and visited them, their stories told by Bettany Hughes with trademark passion and humour.”
—Elodie Harper, author of The Wolf Den
“The beginning of wisdom is wonder, so readers of Bettany Hughes’s new book are due to be wondrously wised-up as they follow in the footsteps of their Herodotean-style guide from Africa to Asia to Europe, in search of deeper appreciation of some of humanity’s greatest creations. Every page of this generously illustrated travelogue yields a treasure house of information and reflection on Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek masterworks of architecture, urban planning and sculpture.”
—Paul Cartledge, author of Thebes: The Forgotten City of Ancient Greece
“Informed by careful research and enriched by inspired prose, this book is itself a wonder. Bettany Hughes has given new and powerful meaning to the ancient world’s most iconic monuments.”
—James Romm, author of Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero
“A thrilling armchair journey from a very wise woman. Bettany Hughes is the eighth wonder of the world.”
—Lucy Worsley, author of Jane Austen at Home: A Biography
“So vividly written that it is as if the reader is there, discovering the Seven Wonders firsthand. The stories behind them are endlessly fascinating, often surprising, and stay in the memory long after the last page has been turned. A dazzling achievement.”
—Tracy Borman, author of Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant

“Thrilling, epic, exciting, Bettany Hughes’ gripping and scrupulously researched Seven Wonders takes you as if by magic to the great, lost sites of ancient genius, these incredible feats of human imagination and breadth. With skill, scholarship and brilliant writing, Bettany Hughes explores these majestic sites in detail. A magical, sweeping, dazzling book.” 
—Kate Williams, author of The Betrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots
“A thrilling journey in the footsteps of the ancients. . . . One of the great joys of Hughes’s book is the way she follows her wonders into their own less-than-glorious afterlives. . . . It is this capacity to move deftly between registers—mythic, historical, sacred, profane and pitifully personal—that makes her such a beguiling guide.”
The Guardian
“An illuminating voyage into marvelous historical sites. . . . Underlying Hughes’ fascinating tour of the Seven Wonders of the World, a list compiled in the second century B.C.E, are questions about the nature of wonder itself. . . . Describes [the wonders] in rich detail. . . . A captivating journey with an erudite guide.” 
Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“[A] fascinating exploration. . . . Mixing the latest archaeological and historical research with a bright, inquisitive style makes these places—and their peoples—come alive. . . . Quite the adventure.”
The Observer (UK)
“The relics of the magnificent seven still feed our genetic need to be amazed at what humanity can do with enough means and motivation—and perhaps make us reflect on the lack of both in our own time. In her well-researched travelogue which draws heavily on recent archaeological discoveries, Hughes says ‘Powerful civilisations leave behind great monuments. Great civilisations leave behind powerful ideas.’ ”
The Times (UK)
“Awe-inspiring. . . . Hughes has long been one of television’s more vivacious historical guides, and here she doubles down on her enthusiasm in a book that transforms these ancient sites into vivid three dimensions for even the most armchair-bound of travellers. . . . Hughes imparts all this and more with a perpetual wide-eyed wonder. The result is a book that can either be dipped in and out of at will or read straight through with the attention one might normally afford an airport thriller. That she loves her subject is given, but the fact that she manages to endlessly fascinate even those amongst us for whom the ancient world rarely intrudes into the modern is perhaps the real achievement here. History couldn’t ask for a better ambassador.”
“Bettany Hughes’s vivid book is a work of reconstruction in which she recreates not just the buildings themselves but the reactions of the travellers of antiquity. . . . There is no hint of the dry-as-dust lecture here, rather a palpable sense of her own excitement in disinterring these extraordinary edifices.”
New Statesman (UK)
“Bettany Hughes brings to life astonishing feats of engineering and creativity in mostly long-destroyed wonders. . . .  This book emphasises not only the scale and majesty of each of the seven wonders, but the human story behind them and encourages the reader to fall in love with them all over again. This book will fire your imagination and take you on a wonderful tour of the ancient world.”
Press Association (UK)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593686157
ISBN-10: 0593686152
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2024
Pages: 432
Language: English