The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt. Though her life spanned fewer than 40 years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world.The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt. Though her life spanned fewer than 40 years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2010-09-06 "Cleopatra stood at one of the most dangerous intersections of history: that of women and power," writes Schiff in this excellent, myth-busting biography. It is that intersection that interests Schiff rather than romance. Cleopatra was no great beauty, we learn/ But the Egyptian queen (69-30 B.C.E.)-who was actually a Greek Ptolemy-was charismatic, intelligent, shrewd, and ruthless, concerned less with love than with maintaining her kingdom and Ptolemaic grandeur, threatened by Rome's civil wars. Caesar and Antony were seduced by her most alluring feature-her fabulous wealth, which Rome desperately needed. Schiff, author of the acclaimed A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, faces a dearth of documentation on Cleopatra, as well as unreliable portraits by Plutarch, Dio, and others, forcing her often to speculate about Cleopatra's feelings and motives. But Schiff enters so completely into the time and place, especially the beauty and luxury of the "great metropolis" of Alexandria, Cleopatra's capital, describing it in almost cinematic detail. And though we all know the outcome, Schiff's account of Cleopatra's and Antony's desperate efforts to manipulate their triumphant enemy, Octavian, make for tragic, page-turning reading. No one will think of Cleopatra in quite the same way after reading this vivid, provocative book. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly, 2010-12-20 From its opening strains of music, this audiobook of Schiff's stellar biography of the Egyptian queen rewards the intellect and the senses. As Schiff dusts away history's spider webs, romance's distortions, and sexism's corruptions to reveal the true (or at least the truest possible) portrait of Cleopatra, Robin Miles's voice is deep, confiding, the perfect instrument to introduce a history that has been variously forgotten, misunderstood, or suppressed. Her enunciation is crisp, her pacing pure charm: she wrings every sentence for meaning, irony, and wit, taking us through pages of description or analysis with a stately pace. A Little, Brown hardcover. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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