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The Woman Who Would Be King Audiobook

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut's Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt

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Audible Editor Reviews

"Egyptologist Cooney peels back the layers of the life of Hatshepsut, Egypt's second female pharaoh, providing a multidimensional portrait of a woman of strength, intelligence, and substance." (Booklist)

Publisher's Summary

An engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power.

Hatshepsut - the daughter of a general who usurped Egypt's throne and a mother with ties to the previous dynasty - was born into a privileged position in the royal household, and she was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her improbable rule as a cross-dressing king. At just over twenty, Hatshepsut ascended to the rank of pharaoh in an elaborate coronation ceremony that set the tone for her spectacular reign as co-regent with Thutmose III, the infant king whose mother Hatshepsut out-maneuvered for a seat on the throne. Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays in the veil of piety and sexual reinvention. Just as women today face obstacles from a society that equates authority with masculinity, Hatshepsut shrewdly operated the levers of power to emerge as Egypt's second female pharaoh.

Hatshepsut successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt's most prolific building periods. Scholars have long speculated as to why her monuments were destroyed within a few decades of her death, all but erasing evidence of her unprecedented rule. Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power - and why she fell from public favor just as quickly. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.

©2014 Kara Cooney (P)2014 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"The life of Hatshepsut, Egypt's second female pharaoh, was replete with opulent living, complex royal bloodlines, and sexual energy; in short, the kind of drama that fuels Ancient Egypt's enduring appeal…From Hatshepsut’s self-perception, political prowess, and lifestyle emerge an image of the ‘ultimate working mother’ and a compelling insight into ancient gender roles." (Publishers Weekly)

"This biography could only be based on conjecture and guesswork, but the addition of expertise makes it well worth reading. The author's Egyptology background provides the nitty-gritty of daily life and animates this king (at the time, there was no word for 'queen')…. Cooney's detective work finally brings out the story of a great woman's reign." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (130 )
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4.3 (115 )
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Performance
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  •  
    nareed Huixquilucan, Mexico 02-20-16
    nareed Huixquilucan, Mexico 02-20-16 Member Since 2013
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    "A spotight on a neglected part of history"
    Any additional comments?

    While perhaps there is too much detail about how Hatshepsut stayed in power, Dr, Cooney paints a vivid picture of the times and circumstances where Hatshepsut lived, and what her kingship meant in every regard.

    Hatshepsut's is a fascinating, unusual story of family loyalty, ambition and, in particular, her need to constantly overcome obstacles during her reign.

    The book is narrated by the author, which to me is always a big plus.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia 08-12-15
    Patricia 08-12-15
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    "Better Than I Thought It Would Be"

    I thought this was a really good book; although it was a bit dry at times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nina 07-11-15
    Nina 07-11-15 Member Since 2014
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    "disappointed"

    couldn't get interested beyond 5 chapters. felt like the author made too many cultural assumptions that really got on my nerves.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carol Katonah, NY, United States 04-19-15
    carol Katonah, NY, United States 04-19-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Fascinating and Thorough"

    Written and narrated extremely well. A view of Egyptian history that creates an eye opening history of women of strength, power and courage. Fascinating.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doctorlatino 01-30-15 Member Since 2008
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    "Great Book to read or to listen"

    Easy listening, extremely addictive. You will learn a lot and will be amaze at the same time.



    You will enjoy this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda 01-26-15
    Amanda 01-26-15
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    "highly recommend"

    loved it. If you are interested in Egyptian history, you must listen to this book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    laura 01-05-15
    laura 01-05-15
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    "Interesting!"

    I loved how the narrator/author delivered this story. I previously had trouble keeping track of lineage but she made it so clear. Compelling. Good read!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rosemary 09-06-16
    Rosemary 09-06-16 Member Since 2016
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    "She builds a world that still fills us with wonder"

    This is worth re reading, deepening empathy as understanding evolves. The Author’s expansive knowledge is not flung at us with academic hauteur but woven into evocative episodes, engaging us in buoyant vision as well as momentous profundity. Hatshepsut is no longer a forgettable compilation of disparate facts, we sense her apprehension, laughter, fear and courageous accomplishments along with other individual’s lives, events, sentiments and thoughts we understand.

    The magic Cooney conveys, comes from facts that offer a multiplicity of opportunities. She weaves us into circumstances faced with the crushing obstacles, exalting potential and everything in between so that we can understand a breadth of realities which may have plausibly transpired.

    The intellectual workout is exhausting, exciting, calling the reader back to catch another addictive detail, possibly a solution to the eternal puzzle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Simmons 06-17-16 Member Since 2015
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    "sparked my interest in Egyptian history"

    I had never been particularly interested in Egyptian history before listening to this book but the author made it really come alive and I now count Egyptian history as a personal interest.
    It's obvious that the author has an expert's understanding of Egypt's archaeological history and she's woven it into an incredibly interesting personal narrative of an exceptional leader of the ancient world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tani Rae Standridge 06-13-16
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    "fascinating and fantastic"

    It really took me there. the research that went into this was inspiring. the story was gripping weaved thru with fact made it even more compelling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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