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Cleopatra and Antony: Power, Love, and Politics in the Ancient World

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Cleopatra and Antony: Power, Love, and Politics in the Ancient World Cover

ISBN13: 9780802717382
ISBN10: 0802717381
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"On the evidence of Cleopatra and Antony, I'd say [Diana Preston is] a thoroughgoing pro. Her research is careful and deep; her prose is lively and graceful; her sympathy for her central character is strong but wholly without sentimentality; her depiction of the worlds in which Cleopatra lived is detailed, textured and evocative. If there is a better book about Cleopatra for today's reader, I don't know what it is." Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World (read the entire Washington Post Book World review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The story of the worlds best-remembered celebrity couple, set against the political backdrop of their time.

On a stiflingly hot day in August 30 b.c., the thirty-nine-year-old queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, took her own life rather than be paraded in chains through Rome by her conqueror, Octavian—the future first emperor, Augustus. A few days earlier, her lover of eleven years, Mark Antony, had himself committed suicide and died in her arms. Oceans of mythology have grown up around them, all of which Diana Preston explores in her stirring history of the lives and times of a couple whose names—more than two millennia later—still invoke passion, curiosity, and intrigue.

Preston views the drama and romance of Cleopatra and Antonys personal lives as an integral part of the great military, political, and ideological struggle that culminated in the full-fledged rise of the Roman Empire, joined east and west. Perhaps not until Joanna in fourteenth-century Naples or Elizabeth I of England would another woman show such political shrewdness and staying power as did Cleopatra during her years atop the throne of Egypt. Her lengthy affair with Julius Caesar linked the might of Egypt with that of Rome; in the aftermath of the civil war that erupted following Caesars murder, her alliance with Antony, and his subsequent split with Octavian, set the stage for the end of the Republic.

With the keen eye for detail, abundant insight, and storytelling skill that have won awards for her previous books, Diana Preston sheds new light on a vitally important period in Western history. Indeed, had Cleopatra and Antony managed to win the battle of Actium, the centuries that followed, which included the life of Jesus himself, could well have played out differently.

Diana Preston is an Oxford-trained historian and author of Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima, which won the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology; Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy; The Boxer Rebellion; A First Rate Tragedy; and The Road to Culloden Moor. With her husband, Michael Preston, she has coauthored A Pirate of Exquisite Mind and Taj Mahal.
On a stiflingly hot day in August, 30 B.C., the thirty-nine-year-old queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, took her own life rather than be paraded in chains through Rome by her conqueror, Octavian—the future first emperor, Augustus. A few days earlier, her lover of eleven years, Mark Antony, had himself committed suicide and died in her arms. Oceans of mythology have grown up around them, all of which Diana Preston explores in her history of the lives and times of a couple whose names—more than two millennia later—still invoke passion, curiosity, and intrigue.
 
Preston views the drama and romance of Cleopatra and Antonys personal lives as an integral part of the great military, political, and ideological struggle that culminated in the full-fledged rise of the Roman Empire, joined east and west. Perhaps not until Joanna in fourteenth-century Naples or Elizabeth I of England would another woman show such political shrewdness and staying power as did Cleopatra during her years atop the throne of Egypt. Her lengthy affair with Julius Caesar linked the might of Egypt with that of Rome; in the aftermath of the civil war that erupted following Caesars murder, her alliance with Antony, and his subsequent split with Octavian, set the stage for the end of the Republic.
 
With the keen eye for detail, abundant insight, and storytelling skill that have won awards for her previous books, Diana Preston sheds new light on a vitally important period in Western history. Had Cleopatra and Antony managed to win the battle of Actium, she claims, the centuries that followed would have played out quite differently.
"On the evidence of Cleopatra and Antony, I'd say [Preston's] a thoroughgoing pro. Her research is careful and deep; her prose is lively and graceful; her sympathy for her central character is strong but wholly without sentimentality; her depiction of the worlds in which Cleopatra lived is detailed, textured and evocative. If there is a better book about Cleopatra for today's reader, I don't know what it is."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

 
"Preston's convincing narrative claims that had Cleopatra and Antony won the battle of Actium, not only would their personal love story have unfolded less tragically, but the region would have developed with more tolerance-and perhaps a difference outcome for later historical figures, including Jesus-thus rewriting Western history entirely. This very readable work is highly recommended to all history collections, as well as those in gender or women's studies and biography."—Crystal Goldman, Library Journal
 
"Going beyond the charisma and romance of two of history's greatest lovers, Preston vividly puts their lives in the larger political context of their times. Preston explodes the legends, saying Cleopatra was less a seductress than a politically shrewd ruler, and Antony was not a hotheaded megalomaniac. . . . Although the tales Preston rehearses are familiar ones, she provides a rich context and speculates that if Antony and Cleopatra had defeated Octavian, then Cleopatra might have ruled in Judea more benignly than Herod. Her reception of Jesus of Nazareth might have been very different than Herod's, and history itself might have been altered."Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Going beyond the charisma and romance of two of history's greatest lovers, L.A. Times Book Prize — winner Preston (Before the Fallow) vividly puts their lives in the larger political context of their times. Preston explodes the legends, saying Cleopatra was less a seductress than a politically shrewd ruler, and Antony was not a hotheaded megalomaniac. Preston chronicles Cleopatra's life from her royal upbringing to her marriage to the new Roman emperor Julius Caesar, motivated, says Preston, by political ambition. After Caesar's murder, according to Preston, Cleopatra was wise to join political and sexual forces with Antony, who won favor in her eyes for rebelling against Octavian. For his part, Antony remained loyal to Cleopatra, viewing her as a partner with whom he could rule the Roman Empire. Although the tales Preston rehearses are familiar ones, she provides a rich context and speculates that if Antony and Cleopatra had defeated Octavian, then Cleopatra might have ruled in Judea more benignly than Herod. Her reception of Jesus of Nazareth might have been very different than Herod's, and history itself might have been altered. 30 b&w illus., one map." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

More than two millennia after it took place, the story of Cleopatra has lost none of its grip on the world's imagination. It has inspired great plays (Shakespeare, Shaw and Sardou), novels, poems, movies (Elizabeth Taylor!), works of art, musical compositions both serious (Handel and Samuel Barber) and silly ("Comin' Atcha," by Cleopatra), and of course histories and biographies. Yet for all this rich... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

Much mythology has grown up around the world's best-remembered celebrity couple, all of which Preston explores in her stirring history of the lives and times of a couple who--more than two millennia later--still invokes passion, curiosity, and intrigue.

Synopsis:

On a stiflingly hot day in August, 30 B.C., the thirty-nine-year-old Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, took her own life, rather than be paraded in chains through Rome by her conqueror, Octavian, the future emperor Augustus. A few days earlier, her lover of eleven years, Mark Antony, had died in her arms following his own botched suicide attempt. Oceans of mythology have grown up around them, all of which Diana Preston puts to rest in her stirring history of the lives and times of a couple whose names—more than two millennia later—still invoke passion, curiosity, and intrigue.

This book sets the romance and tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra's personal lives within the context of their political times. There are many contemporary resonances: the relationship between East and West and the nature of empire, the concealment of personal ambition beneath the watchword of liberty, documents forged, edited or disposed of, special relationships established, constitutional forms and legal niceties invoked when it suited. Indeed their lives and deaths had deep political ramifications, and they offer a revealing perspective on a tipping point in Roman politics and on the consolidation of the Roman Empire. Three hundred years would pass before the east would, with the rise of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, once again take a share of political power in the Mediterranean. In an intriguing postscript, Preston speculates on what might have happened had Antony and Cleopatra defeated Octavian at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.

Synopsis:

The story of the worlds best-remembered celebrity couple, set against the political backdrop of their time.

On a stiflingly hot day in August 30 b.c., the thirty-nine-year-old queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, took her own life rather than be paraded in chains through Rome by her conqueror, Octavian—the future first emperor, Augustus. A few days earlier, her lover of eleven years, Mark Antony, had himself committed suicide and died in her arms. Oceans of mythology have grown up around them, all of which Diana Preston explores in her stirring history of the lives and times of a couple whose names—more than two millennia later—still invoke passion, curiosity, and intrigue.

Preston views the drama and romance of Cleopatra and Antonys personal lives as an integral part of the great military, political, and ideological struggle that culminated in the full-fledged rise of the Roman Empire, joined east and west. Perhaps not until Joanna in fourteenth-century Naples or Elizabeth I of England would another woman show such political shrewdness and staying power as did Cleopatra during her years atop the throne of Egypt. Her lengthy affair with Julius Caesar linked the might of Egypt with that of Rome; in the aftermath of the civil war that erupted following Caesars murder, her alliance with Antony, and his subsequent split with Octavian, set the stage for the end of the Republic.

With the keen eye for detail, abundant insight, and storytelling skill that have won awards for her previous books, Diana Preston sheds new light on a vitally important period in Western history. Indeed, had Cleopatra and Antony managed to win the battle of Actium, the centuries that followed, which included the life of Jesus himself, could well have played out differently.

About the Author

Diana Preston is an Oxford-trained historian and the author of A First Rate Tragedy, The Boxer Rebellion, Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy, and Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima, which won the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology. With her husband, Michael, she has coauthored A Pirate of Exquisite Mind and Taj Mahal. She lives in London, England.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

lellingw, May 8, 2009 (view all comments by lellingw)
Haven't read the book yet but look forward to it. I loved the show Rome and have always had a fascination for Cleopatra.
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(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802717382
Author:
Preston, Diana
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Royalty
Subject:
History
Subject:
Cleopatra
Subject:
Egypt History 332-30 B.C.
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Subject:
Ancient - Rome
Subject:
Ancient - Egypt
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20090331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8p. color insert
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
Biography » Royalty
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Ancient Rome
History and Social Science » World History » Classical

Cleopatra and Antony: Power, Love, and Politics in the Ancient World Used Hardcover
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Product details 352 pages Walker & Company - English 9780802717382 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Going beyond the charisma and romance of two of history's greatest lovers, L.A. Times Book Prize — winner Preston (Before the Fallow) vividly puts their lives in the larger political context of their times. Preston explodes the legends, saying Cleopatra was less a seductress than a politically shrewd ruler, and Antony was not a hotheaded megalomaniac. Preston chronicles Cleopatra's life from her royal upbringing to her marriage to the new Roman emperor Julius Caesar, motivated, says Preston, by political ambition. After Caesar's murder, according to Preston, Cleopatra was wise to join political and sexual forces with Antony, who won favor in her eyes for rebelling against Octavian. For his part, Antony remained loyal to Cleopatra, viewing her as a partner with whom he could rule the Roman Empire. Although the tales Preston rehearses are familiar ones, she provides a rich context and speculates that if Antony and Cleopatra had defeated Octavian, then Cleopatra might have ruled in Judea more benignly than Herod. Her reception of Jesus of Nazareth might have been very different than Herod's, and history itself might have been altered. 30 b&w illus., one map." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "On the evidence of Cleopatra and Antony, I'd say [Diana Preston is] a thoroughgoing pro. Her research is careful and deep; her prose is lively and graceful; her sympathy for her central character is strong but wholly without sentimentality; her depiction of the worlds in which Cleopatra lived is detailed, textured and evocative. If there is a better book about Cleopatra for today's reader, I don't know what it is." (read the entire Washington Post Book World review)
"Synopsis" by , Much mythology has grown up around the world's best-remembered celebrity couple, all of which Preston explores in her stirring history of the lives and times of a couple who--more than two millennia later--still invokes passion, curiosity, and intrigue.
"Synopsis" by ,
On a stiflingly hot day in August, 30 B.C., the thirty-nine-year-old Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, took her own life, rather than be paraded in chains through Rome by her conqueror, Octavian, the future emperor Augustus. A few days earlier, her lover of eleven years, Mark Antony, had died in her arms following his own botched suicide attempt. Oceans of mythology have grown up around them, all of which Diana Preston puts to rest in her stirring history of the lives and times of a couple whose names—more than two millennia later—still invoke passion, curiosity, and intrigue.

This book sets the romance and tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra's personal lives within the context of their political times. There are many contemporary resonances: the relationship between East and West and the nature of empire, the concealment of personal ambition beneath the watchword of liberty, documents forged, edited or disposed of, special relationships established, constitutional forms and legal niceties invoked when it suited. Indeed their lives and deaths had deep political ramifications, and they offer a revealing perspective on a tipping point in Roman politics and on the consolidation of the Roman Empire. Three hundred years would pass before the east would, with the rise of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, once again take a share of political power in the Mediterranean. In an intriguing postscript, Preston speculates on what might have happened had Antony and Cleopatra defeated Octavian at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.

"Synopsis" by ,
The story of the worlds best-remembered celebrity couple, set against the political backdrop of their time.

On a stiflingly hot day in August 30 b.c., the thirty-nine-year-old queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, took her own life rather than be paraded in chains through Rome by her conqueror, Octavian—the future first emperor, Augustus. A few days earlier, her lover of eleven years, Mark Antony, had himself committed suicide and died in her arms. Oceans of mythology have grown up around them, all of which Diana Preston explores in her stirring history of the lives and times of a couple whose names—more than two millennia later—still invoke passion, curiosity, and intrigue.

Preston views the drama and romance of Cleopatra and Antonys personal lives as an integral part of the great military, political, and ideological struggle that culminated in the full-fledged rise of the Roman Empire, joined east and west. Perhaps not until Joanna in fourteenth-century Naples or Elizabeth I of England would another woman show such political shrewdness and staying power as did Cleopatra during her years atop the throne of Egypt. Her lengthy affair with Julius Caesar linked the might of Egypt with that of Rome; in the aftermath of the civil war that erupted following Caesars murder, her alliance with Antony, and his subsequent split with Octavian, set the stage for the end of the Republic.

With the keen eye for detail, abundant insight, and storytelling skill that have won awards for her previous books, Diana Preston sheds new light on a vitally important period in Western history. Indeed, had Cleopatra and Antony managed to win the battle of Actium, the centuries that followed, which included the life of Jesus himself, could well have played out differently.

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