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The Woman Who Would Be King

The Woman Who Would Be King

Book - 2014 | First edition
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A portrait of the longest-reigning woman pharaoh in Ancient Egypt draws on surviving artifacts to consider her unprecedented rise, her achievements and why most of her monuments were destroyed after her death.
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 she out-maneuvered for a seat on the throne. A master strategist, 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. Cooney traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.--Publisher information.
Publisher: New York : Crown, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307956767
Call Number: BIO 932.014 HATSHEPSU 2014
Characteristics: xii, 298 pages : illustrations, maps on endpapers ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

An Egyptologist examines the life of King Hatshepsut, the woman who ruled Egypt for over 20 years, during a time of peace, prosperity, and dazzling construction projects.

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Oct 12, 2020

I certainly think that if all of the superfluous aspects of Cooney's over-detailed narrative had been edited out of this book, then, this tale about "The Woman Who Would Be King" could've easily been reduced from its lengthy 230 pages to that of perhaps 100 pages, at best.

Sep 18, 2020

Unfortunately, I found that Kara Cooney's telling of "The Woman Who Would Be King" really soured my opinion of the ancient Egyptian people in a big way. Prior to reading this book I had always regarded these people with a considerable amount of respect. But, I sure don't now.

And, on top of that - I found that (for the most part) what Cooney was relating to the reader here in her wordy narrative was far too out-weighed by her own personal assumptions and embellishments, rather than being based on cold, hard fact.

Dec 05, 2019

this author was paid to write x number of pages ... there is very little history in this book but lots of talking about feelings - an in author's own words " we cannot say for sure how she felt about this " ... what is the point of writing a passage on - what kind of mother she was - was she good was she bad ? there is no ancient source on her maternity - as there is not ancient source on what colour was her favourite - should somebody write a book on that ? maybe it was white? and if it was white was it for everyday or maybe once per week? Audiobook runs 10 hrs ... without talking about feelings or stating all that is unknown - it would be probably 15 minutes

Feb 21, 2017

A fascinating account of Hatshepsut's rise to power and reign, written in an engaging narrative style. It does depend heavily on extrapolation, since the historical record is limited, however the book's strength is its humanization of its subject, and the insight into everyday life in ancient Egypt. Well worth a read!

Feb 17, 2017

While I am no historian, I thought Kara Cooney researched and presented Hatshepsut in a fantastic manner. Would I recommend this one to the everyday reader? Heck no- it's very lengthy in descriptions, names upon names, and can be dull at moments. Did I remember everything that I learned and read? No, I honestly didn't- I'm pretty sure a lot went over my head, but I am glad I now have a better understanding who this female King was. I now have even another reason to visit Egypt one day!

Feb 27, 2015

Fascinating biography of one of history's more mysterious figures. This book tells the tale of Hatshepsut, the first female King of ancient Egypt and traces her journey from King's daughter, to Queen and finally to her assumption of Kingly powers. Also offers a plausible reason why her name was erased from contemporary records. Well written and thought provoking.


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