Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.
Though her life spanned fewer than 40 years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties.
Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and - after his murder - three more with his Antony. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.
Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra's supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost.
In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.
©2010 Stacy Schiff (P)2010 Hachette Audio
"An epic subject requires a writer of epic skill and scope, and we have a perfect pairing in Cleopatra and Stacy Schiff. Absorbing and illuminating, this new biography will endure." (Jon Meacham, author of American Lion)
"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." (Kirkus)
"Captivating...Ms. Schiff strips away the accretions of myth that have built up around the Egyptian queen and plucks off the imaginative embroiderings of Shakespeare, Shaw and Elizabeth Taylor. In doing so, she gives us a cinematic portrait of a historical figure far more complex and compelling than any fictional creation, and a wide, panning, panoramic picture of her world." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
I love historical fiction, biographies, historical non-fiction, etc. This book was a waste of time, the first audible book I just couldn't finish. It read more like a textbook, with no dialogue and 'supposedly' well-researched. However, there lots of references from historical figures about the negative sides of Cleopatra; yet the author would then go on and on about why this was inaccurate, with little to any evidence. I was extremely interested in the topic, both of Cleopatra and the time period, but was truly bored senseless. It was such a waste of a credit - sorely disappointed.
Sericulturalist and horticulturalist, mad scientist and earth oven baker.
This book was my worst read of 2011, in print or audible. I was transported back to a freshman Western Civ. class, where the grad student lecturer would rather have been back in her dorm room, cleaning her belly button lint. If there is such a thing as an afterlife, Cleopatra is looking on like she just smelled something bad. Bad presentation of a sketchy narrative is the nicest thing I can say about this book.
I didn't know that much about Cleopatra, so I picked this up. Stacy Schiff writes in a gripping style that captivates, educates, and entertains. Her story is based on sources of the time as well as more modern archaeology and research into the life of this fascinating enigma of a woman. While listening, I had to keep reminding myself that this was real, as her style made it conversational and almost gossipy. She sticks to the facts, and tells the unvarnished truth. This book is for anyone who wants to know more about Cleopatra, other than what you learned in history class. You will not be disappointed!
I walk when I listen to books and this one just didn't make it for me. The listening is very intense. If my mind wandered at all, I missed someone being murdered or some emperor taking over a country. Have a history buff friend who read the book and she loved it but said yes, she was going to her dictionary on a regular basis with this one. Not a good audible one for me.
Definately one of the very best audible books I've listened to over the 8 years I've been listening. This book was not only fascinating but it was well written and well recorded. I totally loved it!
Bought this book, because the author was on Jon Stewart and seemed interesting. BIG mistake. Incredibly boring. Only buy if you need something to put you to sleep!
There had been so much hype about the book that I had raised expectations. Cleopatra and the other "characters" seemed a little flat and not very exciting.
This book is so full of information. I am glad that I listened to this book because it is so detailed that it might have taken me quite some time to read it all the way through. At times, I was wondering if I was more impressed with the subject matter or the author.
I love historical fiction, however, this book is not that. This is one of the most boring, terribly narrated books ever. If I wanted to read a dry text book, this would be it. Do not waste your money.
I had high hopes for a rich biography that would educate me on one of world's greatetst women, the cultural, religious, economic world that she presided over, and the importance of this epoch to "civilization". Instead, "Cleopatra" read more like a People magazine/Entertainment Tonight segment about a celebrity, with a strange blend of research (Plutarch said this; but Deo said this). I know where she lived, what she wore, who fathered her children. But, this book does not explain the why's and how's-- why ancient Egypt was so advanced compared to Rome, yet why so little Egyptian history remains about her.
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