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Cleopatra: A Life


Cleopatra: A Life Cover

ISBN13: 9780316001946
ISBN10: 0316001945
Condition: Standard
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Beffa, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Beffa)
This extremely well-researched and engagingly-written life of Cleopatra presents a revised portrait of the most powerful woman in her world in her time. One can hope that a movie will follow, to correct the image of vacuousness in which this brilliant, clever, and most powerful entity at the helm of Egypt and surrounding territory is too often shown, and replace it with the savvy, risk-taking and strong leadership that she very really exhibited.
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jthelwell, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by jthelwell)
I am very interested in the world that existed as the Roman Republic was collapsing. Cleopatra figures largely in that period, and Schiff succeeds in producing a balanced life of one of the most fascinating and most maligned women in history.
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Bethany Dotson, October 21, 2012 (view all comments by Bethany Dotson)
One of my favorite biographies of all time; Schiff deconstructs the common image of Cleopatra--the man-killing, exotic Egyptian woman--and reminds us of the times that she lived, the struggled she faced, and likely the woman behind the myth(as stereotypical as that is) that really existed.

Five stars bringing someone so fantastic, resourceful, and brilliant to life, imaginary warts and all.
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Diane Phelps, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Diane Phelps)
This book provides the real story about Cleopatra, not the one from the movies. If you like to know how people lived during certain time periods, this book tells all about Egypt during Cleopatra's reign. Fascinating stuff. The author has a very nice writing style, making interesting, sometime humorous, commentary on Cleopatra's family. Includes good maps of the world as she knew it and photos of statuary and coins that show images of her.
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Suzette H, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by Suzette H)
An absolutely fascinating portrait of one of the world's most powerful and controversial women. While historically documented, the story reads as a novel...it's 'meaty'- filled with historical data - but I couldn't put it down. Schiff gives a human face and a passionate soul to this enigmatic figure, which supersedes the politically biased writings of the past.
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Product Details

A Life
Schiff, Stacy
Back Bay Books
Publication Date:

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History and Social Science » World History » Classical

Cleopatra: A Life Used Trade Paper
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Product details pages Back Bay Books - English 9780316001946 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I'm rather sure that all three of Stacy Schiff's previous works have been nominated for some award or another. With a pedigree like that, you know that her latest biography is bound to be a must-read. Stripping away all the previous misconceptions about this fascinating queen, Schiff dazzles us with another Cleopatra: a canny, capable, and charismatic ruler working against the tide to preserve her nation. A riveting and compelling read. Recommended for all and any history buffs.

"Review" by , "[A] page-turner...even more extraordinary than the more fanciful legend. Cleopatra emerges as a groundbreaking female leader, relying on her wits, determination, and political acumen rather than sex appeal to astutely wield her power in order to get the job done. Ancient Egypt never goes out of style, and Cleopatra continues to captivate successive generations."
"Review" by , "A Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer presents a swift, sympathetic life of one of history's most maligned and legendary women....Successfully dissipating all the perfume, Schiff finds a remarkably complex woman — brutal and loving, dependent and independent, immensely strong but finally vulnerable."
"Review" by , "Schiff showcases her skill at capturing a life. Her prose is elegant but easy to read and briskly paced....Undergraduates, lovers of biography or ancient history, and those seeking an introduction to Cleopatra will delight in this take on the near-mythical last queen of Egypt."
"Review" by , "Taking Cleopatra's political goals seriously, Schiff reanimates her as a living, breathing woman: utterly extraordinary, to be sure, but recognizably human."
"Review" by , "Schiff is at her best in conveying the physical lushness of Cleopatra's exotic world with its glittering sun and sand....Mixing contemporary sources, beautiful writing and psychological insight, Schiff makes us empathize with the heroine of this tale of togas, territorial conquest and hot love."
"Synopsis" by , Her palace shimmered with gold but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Cleopatra, the wealthiest ruler of her time and one of the most powerful women in history, was a canny political strategist, a brilliant manager, a tough negotiator, and the most manipulative of lovers. Although her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world.

At only 18 years old, Cleopatra was already one of history's most remarkable figures: the Queen of Egypt. A lethal political struggle with her brother marked her early adulthood and set the tone for the rest of her life; a relationship with Julius Caesar, forged while under siege in her palace, launched her into a deadly mix of romance and strategy; a pleasure cruise down the Nile followed, a child, and a trip to Rome, which ended in Cleopatra's flight. After Caesar's brutal murder, she began a nine-year affair with Mark Antony, with whom she had three more children. Antony and Cleopatra's alliance and attempt to forge a new empire spelled both their ends.

The subject of gossip and legend, veneration and speculation in her lifetime, Cleopatra fascinated the world right up to her death. In the 2000 years since, myths about the last Queen of Egypt have been fueled by Shakespeare, Dryden, and Shaw, who put words in her mouth, and by Michelangelo, Delacroix, and Elizabeth Taylor, who put a face to her name. In Cleopatra, Pulitzer prize-winning biographer Stacy Schiff accomplishes a feat that has eluded artists and writers for centuries: capturing fully the operatic life of an exceptionally seductive and powerful woman, whose death ushered in a new world order.

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