Cleopatra: A Biography
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Cleopatra: A Biography

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  333 ratings  ·  29 reviews
The author unravels the source behind the tangle of myth, gossip, and invention behind one of the most remarkable women in history.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 28th 2004 by Castle Books (Memphis, TN) (first published 1972)
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Jeffrey Taylor
This is an engrossing history about the last of the Pharaohs and the consolidation of power by the Romans. It takes the myth out of her story and attempts to remove the Octavian propaganda from her history. Highly informative, very interesting

Cleopatra  A Biography by Michael GrantMichael Grant

Michael Grant
Erik Graff
Jan 25, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cleopatra fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
Michael Grant has published scores of books about ancient Greek and Roman history and personalities, some of them, such as his biography of Herod the Great and this one about Cleopatra, based on only a few sources which Grant digests and regurgitates in accessible modern English.
Michael Stewart
Not overly long... about 250 pages of narrative. I don't read all the pages of the bibliography and references - no point if you're reading for pleasure and not scholarship.

Very breezy read... not stale at all. Really gave me a good understanding of the trials and tribulations and triumphs, not just the tragedy of Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. What a triumvirate they were! This biography also points out that the evidence (as of publication in 1972, anyway) shows that Cleopatra may no...more
Michael Grant is a superb historian who brings Cleopatra and Egypt of the times alive in this book.
I know little to nothing about Cleopatra and had nothing to compare it to. That said, the myth/legend is more interesting than the truth offered in this book. The book has a lot of information and tries to present an unbiased history and it came off a little dry and boring. I guess that's what happens when you don't embellish, or have a lot of 2000 year old illustrative details to work with. This book did give me a better understanding of the history of power in that part of the world.

P.S. This...more
I really enjoyed this book. It was well written, engaging, and engrossing. It was fun to dip into the lives of these ambiguous people from so long ago.
Roxane Lapa
I became fascinated with Cleopatra after watching the 1993 'Made-For-TV' 2 part movie called "Cleopatra" featuring Leonor Varela, Billy Zane & Timothy Dalton. An Egyptologist recommended I read this book by Michael Grant for it's authenticity and I'm not sorry I took the time. I was amazed to learn that she could speak 7 languages and was the first of her Dynasty to bother to learn how to speak Egyptian. She also authored treatises on makeup, alchemy and agriculture, and was a brilliant tact...more
I read this biography as a follow-up to the Margaret George book about Cleopatra. What I learned from this book is a lot about the historical milieu that was not included in the George book. I also was able to sort of figure out which parts of the George book were actually based on historically known facts and which were made up out of her imagination to plump out the story.

This biography was not nearly as entertaining or engrossing as the memoir, but it was good, and I enjoyed it.
A splendid Biography. Grant is highly detailed in his research and description of what is known. With any subject of biography who has been dead for over two millennia it is difficult to be so precise. Grant also takes a world view of East verses West which seems more akin to the post 9/11 world than the ancient one. It serves to show how history is not just stories, but relationships among individuals and peoples throughout the world and time.
For someone who was married to Julius Caesar AND Marc Antony I'd have to say that Cleopatra was one amazing woman! Yet I wish this book could've been condensed to 10% of its length. It was way more involved in the history than I had interest. For people who love this kind of thing I'm sure it's fascinating. But I just found my mind wandering and getting bored on and off throughout the read.
Sadly, this book has sat on my bookshelf for years, until I used it as source material for a last minute Western Civ paper. Not only was I able to quickly read through the book to find detailed information and facts for my paper but I also enjoyed reading the book. This book is well written and accurately details the life of Cleopatra.
I read this when I was rather young and...and most of it went over my head. I think I read because an older friend was...but through this book began my love for biography, history, and social issues. Actually, it was Cleopatra's intriguing life that opened up the adventure of history for me.
Danielle Reily
This was an interesting book, but it confirmed that I am interested more in history after the twelfth century. Ancient history just doesn't grab my attention as much. I did find this biography interesting, and I learned a lot of new things about the period.
I have read this one before and after the Shiff bio. While I think both are great and do their jobs well, this one attempted to set Cleopatra's story straight first and presented its source materials up front. An entertaining and elucidating read.
Aug 12, 2012 Brynn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Great biography. Both more scholarly and more entertaining than the recent schiff bio. Grant clearly knows his stuff and half the fun is learning how scholars interpret the often highly biased source material.
It was entertaining to read something about Cleopatra and her triumphant skills as a leader of the Egyptian people. It was also a light weight romance too. Easy summer read.
Very good biography. I learned many new things I never knew before. They author also takes a very balanced approach especially in his imterpretation of her legacy.
Jun 19, 2007 Kecia rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: academics
A bit too academic to be a good read. I liked it to the degree that it sorted out the myth of Cleopatra from the few facts that are known about her.
Very Hungry Explorer
I couldn't stand the way that this book is written, which is such a shame as Cleopatra was a fascinating woman.
A good book but I gt bogged down by the source notes at the back. Evetually I lost interest about 2/3 through. Too bad.
Grant divulges the life of Cleopatra and paints her story with a complete background.
Did you know that Cleopatra was a Greek and not an Egyptian?

Great book.
Much better than the newer bio by Stacey Schiff!
Excellent biography. Well researched.

This is my second Cleopatra read this year, the other was Cleopatra Last Queen of Egypt. Already I can tell that Grant's is probably what is termed 'scholarly' and Tyldesley's offering is a lighter touch.

You pays yer money and makes yer choice.
Milo Nick
A rather poor summary of the movie. Ha!
Larry Van bibber
Very good bio
Cool history.
Chris Mushet
Chris Mushet marked it as to-read
Sep 19, 2014
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Michael Grant was an English classisist, numismatist, and author of numerous popular books on ancient history. His 1956 translation of Tacitus’s Annals of Imperial Rome remains a standard of the work. He once described himself as "one of the very few freelances in the field of ancient history: a rare phenomenon". As a popularizer, his hallmarks were his prolific output and his unwillingness to ove...more
More about Michael Grant...
The Twelve Caesars History of Rome Julius Caesar The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Imperial Rome, 31 BC-476 Myths of the Greeks and Romans

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