With the publication of this book, we have for the first time in any modern literary form one of the most vital of ancient myths--that of Inanna (known to the Semites as Ishtar), the world's first goddess of recorded history and the beloved deity of the ancient Sumerians. In this groundbreaking work, Samuel Noah Kramer, the preeminent living expert on Sumer, and Diane Wolkstein, a gifted storyteller and folklorist, have re-translated, ordered, and combined the fragmented cuneiform tablets comprising the Cycle of Inanna to create an authentic portrait of the goddess from her adolescence to her completed womanhood and "godship." Illustrated with visual artifacts of the period, the images guide the reader through Inanna's realm on a journey parallel to the one evoked by the text. And the carefully wrought commentaries at once explicate and amplify the power, wonder, and mystery embedded in these ancient tales. Tender, erotic, and compassionate, Inanna is a compelling myth that is timely in its rediscovery.