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THE primary object of this book is to be useful.
To that end I have sought to simplify it as much as possible, in the hope of contributing something that might fill a reasonable want. I am aware that the number of existing books on Egypt is large, and it may seem that the addition of yet another involves some temerity on my part. But of such a book as this there has seemed to me to be a very genuine need, owing to the fact that the previously existing works on this subject have sought to tell the traveler too much. Indeed I might almost say that the reason for offering this book is not that there have been hitherto so few volumes about Egypt, but that there have been so many as to prove embarrassing.
What one sees in Egypt is not easy to understand; and yet we all must understand it, at least in part, if the experience is to bring us anything permanently worth while. I have therefore written what follows in the hope that what most of us visit in Egypt may be more readily comprehended, dealing only with the commoner sites in the Nile valley and rigorously excluding all that has seemed likely to confuse rather than clarify. With the same end in view I have included a very brief survey of the ancient history of
the land and of its religious beliefs - doubtless an indiscretion in a layman, but one which seemed to me essential to my general purpose.
I say all this at the outset, not to disarm criticism, but simply to indicate the intended scope of the book. Where the question has been of history or archæology I have frankly drawn on the best authorities I could find; and I trust that I have set down naught which is open to the charge of being without respectable backing.
The photographs and maps are mainly of my own making, supplemented, however, in several cases by admirable photographs courteously loaned me by Mr. Lyneham Crocker of Boston, to whom I have become indebted for many such favors in the preparation of other books of travel.
Let it be understood, then, that I have tried to write a book that shall be helpful to the untutored,
such a book, in short, as I myself should have been glad to discover when I first prepared to set out for Egypt, but for which I sought in vain. The form in which I have cast the chapters on the Upper Nile -- the journal of an ordinary voyage by steamer such as is made by many hundred people every year seems best suited to the scope of the present work.
PHILIP SANFORD MARDEN,
January 12, 1912.