A Life

Schiff, Stacy

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
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.

Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316001922
Branch Call Number: B-C628sc 2010
Characteristics: viii, 368 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill., maps ;,24 cm


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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.

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Feb 03, 2015
  • thelauchlan rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I can respect that the Cleopatra has been maligned over the years, but the author seemed so desperate to undo this that it sometimes got in the way of her writing.
For example, she heavily implies that the reason Caesar was fought so hard for Alexandria was because he was so smitten with her, but several pages earlier notes that Alexandria was obscenely wealthy and could feed all of Rome quite easily. Both seem like great reasons to be invested in a nation's war of succession...

Dec 08, 2014
  • Wizards_CastlesAndBells rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It's as if you are right there. Cleopatra was a shrewd politically savvy leader. Ahead of her time an understatement. Thoroughly researched, well written, un-boring historical.

A wonderful read that expertly follows Cleopatra's life and family tree. Schiff outlines the various and multiple intrigues of royal life illustrating just how dangerous it was for any member of the family to succeed to the throne. Cleopatra was more than Mark Anthony and Caesar’s lover, much more - she was an outstanding leader of people, a military strategist, and a true Egyptian- proud and protective of her country and its people.

Jul 07, 2014
  • arsolarik rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

This is a spew of random facts all shuffled around. I was looking more for a story.

Jan 05, 2014
  • suzannehb rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed this book. The research is amazing, and the author uses fantastic judgment concerning how to portray Cleopatra, given the spotty and biased historical record. Interesting, but not a "stay up 'til 1 a.m." page turner. I'm glad I read it.

Jun 29, 2013

I learned so much about this infamous woman, Egyptian culture and Roman culture.The author has definitely done her homework. There are some places where you just have to slog through the text but overall a great read

Mar 10, 2013
  • ser_library rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

in addition to Cleopatra's story, the information on the education and role of women is fascinating

Nov 30, 2012
  • jshethj rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Schiff does not present all the known versions of Cleopatra's life. She picks and chooses, most of the time with good judgment and explanation, but sometimes simply to create a spicy story. The book I had contained corrections from some random person exposing some of the flaws in Schiff's book (ex. She claims Zeus's mother was born from an egg). I would choose Roller's biography of Cleopatra as a more informative, unbiased text. It's a little boring though

Sep 02, 2012
  • richibi rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

an apparently thorough biography of the last queen of Egypt marred only by an obfuscating style, the author demystifies the legend but too often does the reverse to her prose

Sep 01, 2012
  • bmrich rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

intellectual trip back to the rebellious 1960's. Not a quick read but a rewarding one.

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Mar 14, 2011
  • BlueHippo rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Really awfull. This is a book in search of an editor. The sentences are very awkwardly constructed, so it is very slow and difficult to read. Overuse of parenthetical phrases and dashes add to the problems. Sad, because there is a lot of interesting information here-just not really a pleasant read. I kept wanting to get out my red pen the whole time I was reading it!


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