The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code

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9780062228864: The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code

The decoding of Linear B is one of the world's greatest stories: from the discovery of a cache of ancient tablets recording a lost prehistoric language to the dramatic solution of the riddle nearly seventy years later, it exerts a mesmerising pull on the imagination.

But this captivating story is missing a crucial piece. Two men have dominated Linear B in popular history: Arthur Evans, the intrepid Victorian archaeologist who unearthed Linear B at Knossos and Michael Ventris, the dashing young amateur who produced a solution. But there was a third figure: Alice Kober, without whose painstaking work, recorded on pieces of paper clipped from hymn-sheets and magazines and stored in cigarette boxes in her Brooklyn loft, Linear B might still remain a mystery. Drawing on Kober's own papers - only made available recently - Margalit Fox provides the final piece of the enigma, and along the way reveals how you decipher a language when you know neither its grammar nor its alphabet as well as the stories behind other ancient languages, like the dancing-man Rongorongo of Easter Island.

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Review:

An engrossing detective story of driven personalities, hidden clues, perseverance and intuition [Fox] has uncovered a remarkable woman who had been buried by history ( Sunday Times)

[Fox's] enthusiasm is compelling when talking about the raw inventive brainpower of the code-breakers, their unswerving passion, and the magical way that a set of lines and curves in clay can be transformed into something with meaning ( Observer)

The author's triumph lies in her presentation of this complex subject, narrated with the pace and excitement of a detective story ( Country Life)

Truly memerising. It's also a lovely testament to language and the history of linguistics (Lesley McDowell Sunday Herald 2013-07-14)

A nail-biting intellectual and cultural adventure (Ian Finlayson The Times)

Praise for Talking Hands

'Fox provides an exhaustive, energetic and frequently elegant tour through the world of sign language and sign linguistics ... informed by the quiet passion of a natural teacher for her subject'

( New York Times)

A captivating and important book, minutely researched and vividly narrated (Oliver Sacks)

Book Description:

The full story of the race to decipher the world's greatest puzzle, now in paperback.

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Book Description Ecco Press, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 202 x 134 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the tradition of Simon Winchester and Dava Sobel, The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code tells one of the most intriguing stories in the history of language, masterfully blending history, linguistics, and cryptology with an elegantly wrought narrative. When famed archaeologist Arthur Evans unearthed the ruins of a sophisticated Bronze Age civilization that flowered on Crete 1,000 years before Greece s Classical Age, he discovered a cache of ancient tablets, Europe s earliest written records. For half a century, the meaning of the inscriptions, and even the language in which they were written, would remain a mystery. Award-winning New York Times journalist Margalit Fox s riveting real-life intellectual detective story travels from the Bronze Age Aegean--the era of Odysseus, Agamemnon, and Helen--to the turn of the 20th century and the work of charismatic English archeologist Arthur Evans, to the colorful personal stories of the decipherers. These include Michael Ventris, the brilliant amateur who deciphered the script but met with a sudden, mysterious death that may have been a direct consequence of the deipherment; and Alice Kober, the unsung heroine of the story whose painstaking work allowed Ventris to crack the code. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062228864

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Book Description Ecco Press, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 202 x 134 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the tradition of Simon Winchester and Dava Sobel, The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code tells one of the most intriguing stories in the history of language, masterfully blending history, linguistics, and cryptology with an elegantly wrought narrative. When famed archaeologist Arthur Evans unearthed the ruins of a sophisticated Bronze Age civilization that flowered on Crete 1,000 years before Greece s Classical Age, he discovered a cache of ancient tablets, Europe s earliest written records. For half a century, the meaning of the inscriptions, and even the language in which they were written, would remain a mystery. Award-winning New York Times journalist Margalit Fox s riveting real-life intellectual detective story travels from the Bronze Age Aegean--the era of Odysseus, Agamemnon, and Helen--to the turn of the 20th century and the work of charismatic English archeologist Arthur Evans, to the colorful personal stories of the decipherers. These include Michael Ventris, the brilliant amateur who deciphered the script but met with a sudden, mysterious death that may have been a direct consequence of the deipherment; and Alice Kober, the unsung heroine of the story whose painstaking work allowed Ventris to crack the code. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062228864

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