Mirage : Napoleon's scientists and the unveiling of Egypt
On July 1, at four in the afternoon, first one, then another, then a chorus of voices from three hundred ships called: "Land!" The first glimpse of Egypt filled each man with joy, expectation, and dread. Men clamored for the telescopes, seeking a glimpse of the ancient capital of classical learning and luxury. They squinted into the lenses. The afternoon sun glittered on the water, blinding them at first, confusing their eyes. Was it possible that, for their first sight of Egypt, the fabled origin of civilization, this was all? Water. Sand. And a desiccated town set against a great white void. The French didn't have time to indulge their disillusionment, because they were in mortal danger. Book jacket.