Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Female Caligula: Ranavalona, The Mad Queen of Madagascar 1st Edition

2.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470022238
ISBN-10: 047002223X
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$0.01 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$21.51 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
17 New from $9.72 19 Used from $0.01
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
$21.51 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Laidler, an anthropologist, filmmaker and author (The Last Empress), uncovers the fascinating story of the early 19th-century queen of Madagascar, Ranavalona, who seized power after her husband's death and ruled ruthlessly but effectively for 33 years. Unfortunately, much of it reads like a European's shocked appraisal of native culture rather than the analysis of an anthropologist. The author seems trapped by his title—derived from a European commentator—and, obliged to prove his subject unusually bloodthirsty, he emphasizes the queen's oppression of Christians and trials by ordeal rather than fleshing out the tantalizing glimpses of native religions, social structures and matrilineal royal descent that kept her in power. His most sympathetic characters are a few extraordinary Europeans who lived in or visited Madagascar during her reign. Laidler briefly asserts that Ranavalona actually descended into insanity, but nowhere does he seriously address the issue or give evidence beyond the violence of her tenure. In fact, the narrative suggests that her plans were effective rather than mad: after her death, a series of somewhat less violent and more open-minded rulers gave way under foreign imperial pressures and Madagascar became a French colony. B&w illus., map. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"...jaw-dropping..." (Conde Nast Traveller, November 2005)

"...a new book reveals the extraordinary excesses of the woman whose enemies met the most unspeakable fates..." (Daily Express, 7th November 2005)

Laidler, an anthropologist, filmmaker and author (The Last Empress), uncovers the fascinating story of the early 19th-century queen of Madagascar, Ranavalona, who seized power after her husband's death and ruled ruthlessly but effectively for 33 years. Unfortunately, much of it reads like a European's shocked appraisal of native culture rather than the analysis of an anthropologist. The author seems trapped by his title—derived from a European commentator—and, obliged to prove his subject unusually bloodthirsty, he emphasizes the queen's oppression of Christians and trials by ordeal rather than fleshing out the tantalizing glimpses of native religions, social structures and matrilineal royal descent that kept her in power. His most sympathetic characters are a few extraordinary Europeans who lived in or visited Madagascar during her reign. Laidler briefly asserts that Ranavalona actually descended into insanity, but nowhere does he seriously address the issue or give evidence beyond the violence of her tenure. In fact, the narrative suggests that her plans were effective rather than mad: after her death, a series of somewhat less violent and more open-minded rulers gave way under foreign imperial pressures and Madagascar became a French colony. B&w illus., map. (Dec.) (Publishers Weekly, October 24, 2005)

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 88%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
  • Thousands of books are eligible, including current and former best sellers.
  • Look for the Kindle MatchBook icon on print and Kindle book detail pages of qualifying books. You can also see more Kindle MatchBook titles here or look up all of your Kindle MatchBook titles here.
  • Read the Kindle edition on any Kindle device or with a free Kindle Reading App.
  • Print edition must be purchased new and sold by Amazon.com.
  • Gifting of the Kindle edition at the Kindle MatchBook price is not available.
Learn more about Kindle MatchBook.


New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (November 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047002223X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470022238
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,503,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L O'connor on January 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Admirers of George Macdonald Fraser's 'Flashman' saga will already be acquainted with the terrifying Queen Ranavalona of Madgascar, who appears in 'Flashman's lady' If you do not already know of her be warned, her story is not for the squeamish.

Ranavalona was one of the wives of King Radama, 'the Malagasay Napoleon'. On his death in 1828 she seized the throne and held onto it for the next 33 years. During her bloody reign at least a third of the population of Madagascar is estimated to have died on her orders, either executed or worked to death as forced labour. Criminals, traitors (real or imaginary) and anyone she happened to take a dislike to, were put to death by gruesome means. She had a particular loathing for Christians, who were persecuted with great savagery.

Despite her hatred of foreign influence, she formed a surprising alliance with a young French merchant, Jean Laborde, who was shipwrecked on the west coast of Madagascar in 1831. She found she could make use of him to manufacture cannon, muskets and gunpowder, and he appears to have been useful to her in other ways too, since he was rumoured to be the father of her only son.

Despite her hatred of foreigners, she was fascinated by all things Euroepan, and she and her courtiers dressed in a bizarre mixture of French fashions of various periods. She discovered a passion for fale flowers, which Laborde manufactured for her, and which she and her ladies wore in such quantities that one account described them as 'floral porcupines'.
Read more ›
Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By Quin on October 5, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book served the purpose I needed from it. It filled up little holes of ignorance with information of this history's basic framework. I didn't learn a whole lot more on Ranavalona and her reign, but still enough to be satisfied. The writing was relatively personable too, which is a must for me with history. Fair attempt at a subject with limited information. Pretty good.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
There is no doubt that this is an entertaining read about one of the key figures in Madagascar’s history, and one who deserves to be the subject of a book. However, anyone looking for a serious historical treatment of Ranavalona and her country would be justified in treating this version with a good deal of scepticism.

Firstly, the author’s grasp of the geography of Madagascar doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. On page 10 we are told that the Bay of Antongil is on the south-west coast - in fact it’s in the north-east of the island. Ile Sainte Marie mysteriously migrates from its location off the north-east coast on page 12 to being “just off the Madagascan west coast” on page 61. Modern travellers will find it back in position off the north-east coast.

To keep the pot boiling we’re given insight into the thought processes and conversations of historical persons in a style which wouldn’t be out of place in a Mills & Boon novel. In the same manner, speculative motivations are attributed to the main players and presented as an explanation of historical events.

The queen’s allegedly voracious sexual appetite is a running theme throughout the book, but one which is backed up more by innuendo than by evidence. In fact the only real evidence we’re given that Ranavalona engaged in any sexual activity at all is the fact that she bore a son long after the death of her husband. The son may or may not have been fathered by the French adventurer Jean Laborde who became her technical adviser, but it suits the author’s purposes to assume that that particular rumour is true - though if the queen slept with as many other virile young men as he implies, it is surely something of a long shot.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was historically interesting and portrayed this devilish woman in a surreal light of her dementia. I have friends who live there and this is what piqued my interest initially. Tim Green
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: ancient artifacts