Author: Marilyn Johnson
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Summary: This fun romp through the world of archaeology is perfect for anyone who shares my love of learning about different professions.
I love learning about other professions, so Marilyn Johnson’s exploration of the world of archaeology was my kind of book. She joins a kind of archaeology boot camp, participates in digs, attends conferences, and interviews many archeologists. While she does focus on the more interesting and glamorous parts of the profession, she also makes it clear that the profession is hard and that steady jobs are rare. She also does a good job conveying the difficulties many archeologists face in finding public support for the preservation of important sites and their passion for the job.
One of my favorite parts of this book was that the author used her experiences to add a narrative to what could otherwise be a purely informational book. I wasn’t completely sold on the organization, since it wasn’t clearly chronological and I often didn’t see a connection between the stories that were grouped together. This wasn’t necessarily a problem; it just meant that this book read like a collection of short stories. Something else I really liked about the book was the author’s casual, personable tone. It wasn’t so informal or so much about the author that it interrupted my enjoyment of the text (I’m looking at you Assassination Vacation), but it did make the story feel light and fun.
Unfortunately, the book was light in other ways too. Even though the back-of-the-book description claims that the story will teach you some little known history, there was very little historical information I wasn’t already aware of and none was given in any depth. Each interaction with an archeologist really was like a short story and didn’t give me as much time as I would have liked to become familiar with their subject. I think this could actually be a perk for some readers or for me in the right mood, since the short story feel and light content made this a nice, easy read. At the time I picked this up though, I was hoping for a more substantial nonfiction book and I enjoyed the author’s writing enough that I’d happily have read a longer book in order to learn even more.