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Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  442 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Queen - or, as she would prefer to be remembered King - Hatchepsut was an astonishing woman. Brilliantly defying tradition she became the female embodiment of a male role, dressing in men's clothes and even wearing a false beard. Forgotten until Egptologists deciphered hieroglyphics in the 1820's, she has since been subject to intense speculation about her actions and moti ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 1st 1998 by Penguin Books (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,657)
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Iset
Feb 24, 2011 Iset rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Academics, scholars, undergraduates, amateur historians
Recommended to Iset by: No one
This is a non-fictional historical work detailing the life of Pharaoh Hatshepsut. Initial chapters describe the Hyksos invasion of the Second Intermediate Period, their defeat, and the establishment of the New Kingdom and 18th Dynasty under Pharaoh Ahmose I, and finally how the Tuthmosides came to the throne. After this, Tyldesley finally describes Hatshepsut's life as princess, queen and pharaoh - her monuments, military exploits, the famous expedition to Punt and her relationship with her trus ...more
Joanna
A fascinating, academic biography of Hatchepsut. The book starts with enough general information about the time period and the other Egyptian rulers that I was able to understand the context. This book does an excellent job telling both the story of the archaeological evidence (such as it is) as well as the story of the history of scholars and their own biases that affected their interpretations of the evidence. Hatchepsut is a tantalizing figure. How did this woman become not just a queen, but ...more
Rae
Apr 17, 2014 Rae added it
Shelves: history, grad-school
Reading about one of Egypt’s most mysterious pharaohs made me realize just how much we don’t know about her. The author pieces together as much of her life as she can but the evidence is scant. What is interesting however is that Hatchepsut’s story just reiterates that history is written by the victors, and the importance of examining instead of taking things at face value. Because people looked deeper into the ruins of history they were able to re-discover one of the most successful rulers of o ...more
Colleen
Meh.

This is a very well-written biography, I'll say that right away. The author is engaging, and explains things as clearly as she can to ground the reader into something they can relate to, in a culture very different than ours. We try to read as we can feel the events, rather than just dry names and numbers. Hatchepsut, after all, was one of Egypt's better kings, much to the contrast to the more famous, but failing

But unfortunately, what we can get out of the book is that historians hardly h
...more
Grace
Although I learned much about the female King, Hatchepsut, I often found this book to be a little to slow at times. Therefore, it was difficult to maintain my interest in it. Hatchepsut was the daughter of King Tuthmosis I, the sister and wife of Tuthmosis II, and the stepmother and mother-in-law of Tuthmosis III. Because her stepson was young when Tuthmosis II died, she acted as regent for her stepson. She took on the role of King and tried to validate her position by linking herself to the god ...more
Lauralee
Sep 06, 2014 Lauralee rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History Lovers
Recommended to Lauralee by: No One
Hatchepsut has fascinated the popular imagination by cross-dressing as a man, donning a man's kilt, wearing a false beard, and claiming herself as a king rather than a queen. While Hatchepsut was definitely not the first nor the last female pharaoh, she is the most successful of the female kings. Her powers and success eclipsed the later more famous queen, Cleopatra VII. Tyldesley's unbiased biography highlights Hatchepsut's accomplishments to show that Egyptian women were capable of ruling as ...more
Victoria Adams
Since I love ancient history I usually hunt through bookstore shelves for little known titles. Sometimes the dusty, cluttered and unorganized used bookshop can produce the most fascinating bits of wisdom. I can’t say precisely where I found this particular gem, however the pricing on the dust jacket tells me that is was most likely on one of those adventurous afternoons in a cavernous used bookshop.

Hatshepsut was born the eldest daughter of Thutmose I. According to royal Egyptian custom, she was
...more
Glenn Robinson
Fascinating ruler of Ancient Egypt.....The woman who became King....One of the longest ruling Pharaohs of Egypt, she married the king at a very early age (who was her brother) and became Regent to her step son 2 years later when her husband died. She went on to rule for decades. She devoted much of her career to building public works up and down the Nile. The amount of knowledge that we have of Egypt over 4000 years ago is amazing.
Kavita
This is a very good biography of Hatshepsut. Joyce Tyldesley starts off with detailed background information and gradually eases into Hatshepsut's reign. Her life and death are discussed in detail, along with different interpretations of the archaeological evidence that have been found.

It is comparatively difficult to find and understand information about a ruler who has been effaced from history by her successors, and there can never be a complete certainty about many things. So I appreciate t
...more
Rob
You could tell the author had little subject matter to fill the pages of her book, although the person was interesting too little was recovered on her life to make for an interesting nonfiction biography. I would love to read a fictionalized account of her reign though.
Karen Ireland-Phillips
The author's excellent work on the daily life of ancient Egyptian women piqued my interest in her biography of this queen (more usually spelled Hatshepsut) who ruled as a King. I was not disappointed - though it has the hallmarks of a scholarly work, and the narrative flags from time to time, it was overall a quite entertaining story about a woman who was omitted from the Kings List for reasons still unknown. Tyldesley thoroughly debunks the notion that Hatshepsut's younger brother, who ruled af ...more
Shane
A fascinating story of a female pharoah who ruled for twenty years during Egypt's 18th Dynasty and even wore a beard on ceremonial occasions to look masculine. So it was not just Hillary Clinton who had to act like a man to run for President - this expectation goes way back in history. Ironically, Hachepsut's relics were all defaced or destroyed when her reign ended. Particularly fascinating for me was the fact that a three different clairvoyants have told me on three separate occasions that I w ...more
Janika Puolitaival
Her story just proves that real life can be stranger than fiction
Robert
Scholarly, accessible and aiming for objectivity. The book reads like an undergraduate essay or a book-length Wikipedia article. It isn't always very structured.

It's useful and comprehensive and I'd recommend it to any layperson with a strong interest in this pharaoh (i.e. people like myself) but not to people with just a passing interest. The book does not really bring Hatchepsut to life, and it fails to be vibrant and exciting. It's not pop science - but it would have been a more enjoyable rea
...more
Carla Remy
Scholarly, of course, well-written. I have no complaints. It felt dry, but what could be expected? It's a bio of someone who lived so long ago, all there is is conjecture based on archeological remains. This was interesting in itself, but as I said, dry. I'm afraid I skimmed a few times. I suppose if I wanted juicy I'd turn to historical fiction. I prefer the facts, I enjoyed the "this is all we know" approach and the explanation of different analyses and discoveries.
Sam
Packed with details and citations yet remaining very readable and thoroughly enjoyable this can be considered one of the definative works of Hatchepsut. Tyldesley is a brilliant Egyptologist with a passion for her work which comes through in this book with how it is written and the obviously huge amounts of time that have gone into the research and final text. A must read and a brilliant example of how woman really can get to the top.
D.K. Cherian
Joyce Tyldesley makes reading history fun. This is a non-fictional history book about one of the only female Pharaohs in Ancient Egypt. The book reveals the rise and fall of this unique individual by taking us through accounts of her beginnings that started at least 2 Pharaohs prior. And then Professor Tyldesley shows us her alliances and her politicking that propels Hatshepsut's rise to power. A definite must read!!
Velvetink
May 25, 2015 Velvetink marked it as to-read
Tubel
Amy
Oct 27, 2011 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history majors, those interested in Egyptology
Recommended to Amy by: professor
Tyldesley is an excellent researcher, but quite a bit of supposition is done on her part to assume what the King herself might have thought/felt/wanted. Nevertheless, the book is not pretentious, and it reads much easier and more enjoyable than most historical biographies. Cheers to Tyldesley for choosing the Pharaoh, a much tougher-and less cliche topic.
Bettie☯
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ marked it as to-read
Description: Egypt's Queen or, as she would prefer to be remembered, King Hatchepsut ruled over an age of peace, prosperity, and remarkable architectural achievement (c. 1490 b.c.). Had she been born a man, her reign would almost certainly have been remembered for its stable government, successful trade missions, and the construction of one of the most beautiful structures in the world, the Deir el-Bahri temple at Luxor.

After her death, however, her name and image were viciously attacked, her mo
...more
Marie
I went through an Egyptomania phase in high school, and thought I knew all there was to know about Hatchepsut. Turns out, most of what I knew was wrong, wrong wrong! The author painstakingly separates fact from myth and paints a picture of a much less dramatic female pharaoh.

It was a quick read.
Renee
Though dated of course now due to the discovery of Hatshepsut's mummy, this book is still a fantastic and thorough biography of Hatshepsut, her influences, and her legacy. Very well researched. I've always enjoyed Tyldesley's books and enjoyed revisiting with this one. Highly recommended.
RaeAnn
I started this a while ago and have been meaning to pick it up again.

Not terribly exciting - though quite informative. If I was an archaeologist Im sure it would have been gripping - since I wasn't I wished it had a bit less archaeological detail.
Laurie
A wonderful piece concerning the life and times of the great Hatchepsut, "Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh" gives every possible and credible view concerning its subject. i have always admired hatchepsut and this was a must read for me!
Briana Grenert
Very informative, but it took me forever to read. It took me 1.5 hours for 20 pages, and I have no idea HOW it took so long. But I learned a lot and think that I know about Egypt and HAtshepsut. I was interested most of the time.
idk
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amanda
A pretty good look at a pharoah that we don't know that much about. She got a bit contemptuous at the end but otherwise an enjoyable read.
Jimmy
An excellent biography of a great queen. Why do we always speak of Cleopatra when it was Hatchepsut who did so much more?
Syd
Jun 28, 2007 Syd rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
I found this book completely fascinating...I had no idea that she existed. If you think women in power are hot, read this!
Gwendolyn Mayo
Absolutely best book about Hatshepsut: Pharaoh of Egypt. Couldn't put it down!
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fiction or not? 4 11 Jun 24, 2014 06:03AM  
I don't understand? 6 18 Jan 22, 2012 04:34PM  
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Joyce Tyldesley is a British archaeologist and Egyptologist, academic, writer and broadcaster.

Tyldesley was born in Bolton, Lancashire and attended Bolton School. In 1981, she earned a first-class honours degree in archaeology from Liverpool University, and a doctorate in Prehistoric Archaeology from Oxford in 1986. She is a Teaching Fellow at Manchester University where she is tutor and course or
...more
More about Joyce A. Tyldesley...
Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt Nefertiti: Unlocking the Mystery Surrounding Egypt's Most Famous and Beautiful Queen Ramesses: Egypt's Greatest Pharaoh Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt: From Early Dynastic Times to the Death of Cleopatra

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