Paul Kriwaczek, Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization (NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2010).
Reviewers called Babylon “a pertinent, accessible study, more lively than scholarly,” and “a first-rate guide to a fascinating ancient civilization that continues to influence us today” (Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly, respectively).
It has also been noted that Babylon over-reaches, giving too much credit to Mesopotamia in terms of influence on later cultural developments (The Independent). This is something to keep in mind while enjoying this thoroughly readable, insightful — and occasionally funny — book on an otherwise formidable subject.
Paul Kriwaczek (1937-2011) was a BBC journalist for 25 years and head of central Asian affairs for the BBC World Service. Here are two touching obituaries at The Guardian and The Independent from colleagues who knew him.