Awful Egyptians by Terry Deary

(Cover picture courtesy of Norfolk County Council.)

Horrible Histories

It’s history with the nasty bits left in!

Want to know:

  • Why people worshipped a dung beetle?
  • Which phunny pharaoh married her grandfather?
  • What the “Shepherd of the Royal Backside” had to do?

Discover all the foul facts about the Awful Egyptians—all the gore and more!

The Horrible Histories series really is an amazing series for children to learn about history in a way that makes things interesting.  Terry Deary’s writing style makes me suspect his history teachers bored him to tears.  He has more hatred for the way history is taught in school than I do, which is really, truly saying something.  The illustrations by Martin Brown bring home his points very well and they can be laugh-out-loud funny at times.

As for how accurate Awful Egyptians is, well, it’s not entirely accurate.  Terry Deary describes the mummification process very well, but it may not have been how Egyptians really did their mummification.  Part of the process was to “Soak the body in natron for seventy days till it is well pickled.”  The Egyptian mourning period was only seventy days long and according to the modern mummification tests that have been performed by Egyptologist Bob Brier, covering the body in natron should only take 35 days.  That way, the body still has enough moisture to position the limbs, but not so much that it will decay. The nitty-gritty of the process is still a contentious subject, but I tend to side with the man that actually assembled a team and made a modern mummy rather than sticking to old theories based mainly on Herodotus’ writings.

Still, Awful Egyptians is a great starting point for kids to learn about history in a fun way.  Egyptian history is especially gory, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend this book for sensitive kids.  But for those kids who were like me and loved to be grossed out, I would recommend it for ages 8-11.  Terry Deary helped me love history and I, as well as my little sister, will be eternally grateful to him for making an impact on both of our lives.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble*

*Barnes and Noble has Terry Deary’s other Egyptian books, but not Awful Egyptians.  Why this is, I have no idea.


  1. Zen A.

    This is one of my favourite Terry Deary books. I read many of them during high school and come to like history a lot more because of him. I think it’s a series that even adults can enjoy, not just kids! =]

  2. Pete Howorth

    Wow I remember reading these when I was in school! I actually still have two hard cover books on my book shelf, The Groovy Greeks and the Rotten Romans is the first one and the second is The Vicious Vikings and The Measly Middle Ages 😀

  3. Pete Howorth

    Hah upon further looking I actually have The Awesome Egyptians and also Dark Knights and Dingy Castles, I have have Horrible Geography’s Violent Volcano’s. I need to get this shiz read!

    • Carrie Slager

      I’ve read all of the other ones you mentioned except for Dark Knights and Dingy Castles and Horrible Geography’s Violent Volcanoes. I love these books! Which is why my little sister often finds at least one missing from her shelf from time to time.

Leave a Reply