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Cleopatra: A Life
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on May 7, 2017
I bought this for my mother and she said that the book changed the way that she thought things happened at that time. it was very eye opening and in someplaces hard to get through She was glad to read it.
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on July 22, 2017
Stacy shiff tells a great true story. I honestly thought i knew everything i needed to know about Cleopatra and her life . But i was wrong. Filled with intrigue and facts of her most wonderful, exciting ,and cut short to soon life . Great read great listen . I have both !
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on May 4, 2013
Writing about the historical Cleopatra is a daunting task but Stacy Schiff managed to create an extremely readable and authoritative biography Records concerning the period are sketchy and more legend than history exists about this fascinating queen. Sifting through the many historians' versions of her life and those of the Romans with which she lived and worked is difficult enough but when one tries to verify the disparaging and untrue accounts of her as a woman as well as a monarch,ferreting out the "truth" is monumentally difficult. Nevertheless, Schiff has created an authoritative and very readable account of one of history's most beguiling and powerful individuals, through painstaking research and excellent judgment.
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on December 28, 2016
Stacy Schiff reveals as much truth as she can about Cleopatra's life and ruling. I am enthralled and amazed with all that the city of Alexandra offered. Not only did this city have wealth beyond imagination, but it was a cultural hub of the world. Cleopatra ruled this amazing city with cunning intelligence. Historians and literary writers have villanized and sexualized her. It is believed they did so because Cleopatra threatened male rulers with her intelligence--something male rulers dud not want to accept--a woman out thinking them. Good history analysis.
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on June 7, 2014
"Cleopatra: A Life" was an interesting read but I would not call it a great biography. I realize there is little thai was written while Cleopatra was alive that survives. I really was not sure how much the author used literary license to describe evnts. I learned a number of "facts" about Cleopatra, Antony and others that I had not known. If you believe the book, you would have to ask how a woman of superior intelligence such as Cleopatra could make so many strategic errors and not preserve her own life. How could a brilliant general such as Antony fail in his tactics. I guess you v\can blame it on love and then we are back to Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.
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on December 21, 2011
This book is simultaneously over- and underwritten. It's overwritten in that the prose is showy and prolix -- lots of padding and useless rhetorical flourishes. It's underwritten in the sense that there is very little that is actually about Cleopatra herself in it. There's quite a lot of (ostentatious) "contextualization" and speculation, but the book does a terrible job of actually conveying who Cleopatra was (or even might have been) as a person. I almost never quit a book before finishing but I did with this one. Disappointing.
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on May 6, 2017
Like many people, I had heard the story about Cleopatra and the Asp, but failed to capture her remarkable achievements. This was an eye-opening story about an amazing woman and a great read. I developed a real appreciation for Cleopatra's capabilities, and the climate of that era, where just surviving as a ruler was an achievement.
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on March 20, 2013
This was a very interesting biography of Cleopatra, who was quite a skilled strategist, obviously intelligent and incredibly adept as a political leader from a budget and policy perspective. It was refreshing to read a biography to combat the skewed film perspective of a beautiful but conniving woman who used her beauty to get what she wanted for Egypt. You can see from references and quotes of ancient historians that there was certainly a misogynistic slant to how they considered her. I did have trouble with the first 1/4 of the book as it seemed to jump around a lot and the narrative flow wasn't graceful, but by the 1/3 mark I was hooked. The author did enormous research into the topic but there was inconsistent referencing in that there were a little too many references to follow in some areas and no references to back up assumptions (e.g., of her education, daily life) in other sections of the book. The parts that highlighted the history of Egypt and the mythology of the Nile (it's fruitfulness, the fertility and strength of the land and people) were compelling, however. It was startling to realize how much more sophisticated Egypt was culturally, so much older than Rome and far more advanced and stable - Rome's famous temples didn't exist yet! It brought home again the sad conclusion that so much of what survives of truly resplendent cultures are just what the upstarts and empire builders deigned to leave behind as they slashed and burned their way to conquering new territories for the resources.
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on August 19, 2014
Most historical literature is culled from English or other contemporary language documents. Stacy Schiff has returned to the writings of early Greek, Roman and Egyptian philosopher-writers to tell the story of Cleopatra as well as it can be pieced together. And an amazingly clear picture is drawn of a woman who would be exceptional in any era. Since this is an accounting of politics, military strategy, Egyptian court culture and Greco-Roman mythology, before the start of the common era (CE), it tests our willingness to bond with the characters and their lives. Ms. Schiff has the master story-teller ability to overcome this "museum distant" view and feel close to the human and emotional life of Cleopatra and the people to whom she was a god, a lover, a bountiful sovereign, and a military threat.
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on December 24, 2013
Stacy Schiff’s biography of Cleopatra is both a scholarly and an entertaining retelling of the life of the last of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt. Making extensive use of the original sources which document the life of Cleopatra and the latest scholarship on the ancient world she strips away the myths, or actually confronts them directly, explores the various reasons for each and carefully enumerates what may be believed, what may not and what cannot now be known and why. Included are biographical portraits of the major figures of her era like Caesar and Mark Antony as well as richly detailed portraits of Cleopatra’s time, its cultures, political structures, and cities. The reconstruction of ancient Alexandria with its luxury and intellectual ferment is particularly vivid and striking. This is a wonderful piece of biography, learned and full of great style and it focuses closely on the facts of the life of this extraordinary ruler.
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