Download Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble Audiobook

Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble Audiobook, by Marilyn Johnson Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Marilyn Johnson Narrator: Hillary Huber Publisher: Tantor Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2014 ISBN: 9781494578077
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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. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Johnson finds that the line between inspirationally nutty and actually crazy is measured in the joy of the work.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “[A] gem of hands-on reportage.”


  • “Johnson writes in a charming and thoughtful manner, weaving in her personal observations, insightful quotes from her subjects, and a wide-eyed fascination with her subjects.”

    Seattle Times

  • “[A] lively love letter to archaeologists…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)

  • “Johnson’s wonderful and engaging work peels back the superficial glamour surrounding archaeology and archaeologists, offering an account that is a step above the typical book on the subject…Without glitz, the author has created a very enjoyable work that will be appreciated by experts in the field and casual readers alike.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “The author, who makes a habit of looking into atypical subjects and then writing about them with brio and dash, takes on the discipline of archaeology…An engrossing examination of how archaeologists re-create much of human history, piece by painstaking piece.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “With warmth and humor, Huber introduces an intriguing collection of specialists and provides just a hint of characterization, allowing the listener to envision each archaeologist’s unique obsession. Huber truly shines in narrating the voice of author Marilyn Johnson as she journeys to world-renowned archaeological sites (the stunning vista of Machu Picchu) and less glamorous field-training locales. 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.”


  • 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
  • A November 2014 LibraryReads Pick

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About the Author

Marilyn Johnson is the author of the books This Book Is Overdue!, which is about librarians and archivists in the digital age, and The Dead Beat, which is about the art of obituaries and obituary writers. The Dead Beat was chosen for the Borders Original Voice program and was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. Johnson is a former editor at Esquire and Outside magazines and a former staff writer for Life. She and her family live in New York’s Hudson Valley.

About the Narrator

Hillary Huber, a Los Angeles–based voice talent with hundreds of commercials and promos under her belt, was bitten by the audiobook bug in 2005. She now records books on a regular basis and has been nominated for several Audie Awards and won numerous Earphones Awards.