The story of Egypt is the story of history itself--the endless rise and fall, the life and death and life again of the eternal human effort to endure, enjoy, and understand the mystery of our universe. Emerging from the ancient mists of time, Egypt met the challenge of the mystery in a glorious evolution of religious, intellectual, and political institutions and for two millenniums flourished with all the vigor that the human heart can invest in a social and cultural order. Then Egypt began to crumble into the desert sands and the waters of the Nile, and her remarkable achievements in civilization became her lingering epitaph. John A. Wilson has written a rich and interpretive biography of one of the greatest cultural periods in human experience. He answers--as best the modern Egyptologist can--the questions inevitably asked concerning the dissolution of Egypt's glory. Here is scholarship in its finest form, concerned with the humanity that has preceded us, and finding in man's past grandeur and failure much meaning for men of today.