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Cleopatra: A Life

af Stacy Schiff

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler / Omtaler
3,6271682,613 (3.67)1 / 349
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.
  1. 30
    The Memoirs of Cleopatra af Margaret George (Anonym bruger)
    Anonym bruger: Although long, this is an excellent book. Written in first person and thoroughly researched, it really opens your eyes to what an outstanding person Cleopatra was.
  2. 10
    Antony and Cleopatra af Adrian Goldsworthy (bookfitz)
  3. 10
    The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy af Adrienne Mayor (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Both offer an outsider's (and antagonist's) perspective on Roman history.
  4. 10
    Personal History af Katharine Graham (Menagerie)
    Menagerie: Two strong women that lived centuries apart but faced many of the same obstacles.
  5. 10
    The Rise and Fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the Modern World af Justin Pollard (davesmind)
Indlæser...

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» Se også 349 omtaler

Engelsk (166)  Spansk (1)  Svensk (1)  Alle sprog (168)
Viser 1-5 af 168 (næste | vis alle)
Schiff does a fantastic job in bringing Cleopatra to life: the drama, the sensuality, the politics. However, I did end up giving this 4 out of 5 stars because, in the way I was reading it, she doesn’t try to bring Cleopatra back from the brink that society has put her at; in my opinion, modern society has overly sexualized Cleopatra and turned her into a bad/wicked woman because she was ambitious and openly sought power. Schiff doesn’t try to break that mold, which slightly bothers me. However, I do realize that this may not have been the intent of the book.
I did really like this overall, and it was very interesting to learn about the more detailed aspects of Cleopatra’s live, especially given the fact that she is closer in time to us than she is to the pyramids. I liked how Schiff included quotes at the beginning of each chapter. ( )
  historybookreads | Jul 26, 2021 |
Adult nonfiction/biography. I'm as much a fan of history as the next guy, but--wait, let me take that back, I'm not really into history. I did get the impression that Schiff had done extensive research into the subject matter, though with records being as spotty as they were, there's still a lot left to speculate on. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Without a doubt, this is a biased biography, though I am hard-pressed to recall any non-fiction that isn't. As they say, history is written by the victors (generally synonymous with "oppressors" in some fashion), and if it means challenging the patriarchal storytelling of one of the most powerful women in history, well then, I'm listening.

This was an unintentional timely read (listen) on my part, which made it all the more gratifying and frustrating with the events of the past week. Even though Cleopatra proved a strong Ptolemaic ruler, a strategist to the end, an intellectual, a pragmatist, historians have largely stripped her of any real agency--as Schiff points out--other than as the lover/manipulator of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. That is certainly the only light I had cast her in prior to this book. I am grateful to Schiff for laying out Cleopatra's life and reign and examining the motives behind why her achievements go overlooked.

Bonus: if you're a sucker for Hellenistic/Roman empire dramarama, high five! You're going to be in heaven.

Whether or not you are as taken by this biography as I was, I would be surprised if you come out on the other side without a voice in your head forever questioning why our histories are told the way they are. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
This was a great book, and I'm happy that I listened to it on audio. Very good book for gardening and for road trips.

My overwhelming thought about this is "holy crap, they were bloodthirsty people." I decided that, should I ever go back in time, I want to be someone completely innocuous, someone who never comes to the attention of people in power, so as to not give anyone an excuse to have me killed. I didn't know that killing one's siblings after taking the throne was a Ptolemy family tradition. And you think your family feuds are bad. :/ ( )
  ssperson | May 26, 2021 |
I would never have picked this up at all if not for book club. Biographies and histories that are all about great rulers are pretty boring to me. They have nothing to do with anything remotely touching life as I know it. What does it even mean to "amass an army"? As for political stuff - I can't even stand to read it in the newspaper.

So the writing had to be positively dazzling, considering how interested I ended up being. Cleopatra is a household name to us today due to her sheer charisma. She wasn't Elizabeth Taylor - she had a hooked nose and prominent chin; and incidentally she wasn't African, either, but Greek. No beauty or stunning tactician - she ended up losing her kingdom - but no spoilers. I'm serious, I didn't really know how things ended for her until I read this! I didn't know much of anything on her at all, obviously.

Of greatest pleasure to read are the more mundane aspects of what life was like in Alexandria (Egypt's then-capital) in the first few decades B.C. (her lifetime) (yet two more facts I did not know). It was quite a hotbed of feminism. Women enjoyed the right to make their own marriages, to inherit equally, to own property independently, to divorce and be supported after divorce; etc.

And Egypt was of such interest to the Romans because it was swimming in wealth. Golden grain, bananas, apricots, grapes, figs, mulberries, peaches, all were to be had in abundance. Goats were said to bear five kids at a time in Egypt rather than two. Pigeons to produce twelve broods rather than ten. The male skull was stronger near the Nile and rarely went bald. Whites came out whiter, brights came out brighter...

Alexandria itself seems to have been a of marvel - literally a wonder of the world. Its famous lighthouse, half a mile out on a man-made causeway, was the signature of its skyline. One can imagine the visitor first casting eyes upon it, like the skyline of old New York or London, and running out to buy a souvenir lampshade or tile with its likeness. The city was a "sumptuous suffusion of gleaming marble". We think of ancient times as nasty, brutish, smelly, but I bet Alexandria had it hands down over NYC any day for quality of life. Certainly for quality of figs. ( )
  Tytania | Mar 22, 2021 |
Viser 1-5 af 168 (næste | vis alle)
" Ideally, as Stacy Schiff observes in her magnificent re-creation of both an extraordinary woman, and her times, our sense of Cleopatra would be heightened by her dramatic appearance as the doomed heroine of a sumptuous opera (Puccini, preferably)."
tilføjet af bookfitz | RedigerThe Guardian, Miranda Seymour (Jan 21, 2011)
 
Her life of Cleopatra is slightly soft-focused, as if she has applied Vaseline to the lens. It leaves the impression that, like a student taking an exam, she knows only a little more than what she writes. Sometimes she nods; to say, as she does, that Roman women were without legal rights is incorrect, although they were not allowed to hold political office. That said, she has done her homework and writes elegantly and wittily, creating truly evocative word pictures.

 
"Successfully dissipating all the perfume, Schiff finds a remarkably complex woman—brutal and loving, dependent and independent, immensely strong but finally vulnerable."
tilføjet af bookfitz | RedigerKirkus Reviews (Sep 15, 2010)
 

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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.

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