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Short Synopsis
The author of The Dead Beat and This Book is Overdue! turns her piercing eye and charming wit to the real-life avatars of Indiana Jones—the archaeologists who sort through the muck and mire of swamps, ancient landfills, volcanic islands, and other dirty places to reclaim history for us all.

Full Synopsis
Pompeii, Machu Picchu, the Valley of the Kings, the Parthenon—the names of these legendary archaeological sites conjure up romance and mystery. The news is full of archaeology: treasures found and treasures lost. Archaeological research tantalizes us with possibilities (are modern humans really part Neanderthal?). Where are the archaeologists behind these stories? What kind of work do they actually do, and why does it matter?

Marilyn Johnson's Lives in Ruins is an absorbing and entertaining look at the lives of contemporary archaeologists as they sweat under the sun for clues to the puzzle of our past. Johnson digs and drinks alongside archaeologists, and chases them through the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and even Machu Picchu. Her subjects share stories about slaves and Ice Age hunters, ordinary soldiers of the American Revolution, Chinese woman warriors, sunken fleets, and mummies. What drives these archaeologists is not the money (meager), the jobs (scarce), or the working conditions (dangerous) but their passion for the stories that would otherwise be buried and lost.

"The passion of the various archaeologists is evident from Johnson's words but further enhanced by Huber's enthusiastic narration." ---Booklist Audio Review

"Reader Huber does a fantastic job of capturing Johnson's witty, conversational prose, which both informs and entertains listeners." ---Publishers Weekly Audio Review

"Huber's classy narration gives credence to Johnson's assertion that archaeology is vastly more valuable than digging up bones and pottery. It's a science that allows us to better understand our own humanity." ---AudioFile

"Many archaeologists credit Indiana Jones with sparking their passion, and Johnson may well inspire a new generation to take up this calling." ---Publishers Weekly starred review

"The author sets out to explore what archaeology is really like and puts herself in the mainstream of her subject." ---Library Journal starred review

"An engrossing examination of how archaeologists re-create much of human history, piece by painstaking piece." ---Kirkus Starred Review

"[A] gem of hands-on reportage." ---Nature

"Well read by Hillary Huber, this book will appeal to amateur archaeologists and generalists who want to know what the professionals do." ---Library Journal Audio Review
Publishers Weekly Bestseller

#3 November LibraryReads List

Amazon Bestseller

Publishers Weekly Review

Library Journal Review

Kirkus Review

Author Interview
Marilyn Johnson

Lives in Ruins

Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble

Author Marilyn Johnson

Narrated by Hillary Huber

Publication date Dec 2, 2014

Running time 9 hrs 2 min

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