Well, it is edited, though the whole graduate school thing doesn't make sense (I knew two grad students in the same area and they did far more fiel2.5
Well, it is edited, though the whole graduate school thing doesn't make sense (I knew two grad students in the same area and they did far more field work). Additionally, there is some contradicting sentences (and why isn't her head shaved?). Still could be worse. Bonus points because Wolf does address language issues....more
Interesting and easy enough read for a layman. Have to say, however, that the illustrations do not translate well in the Kindle edition. Very washed oInteresting and easy enough read for a layman. Have to say, however, that the illustrations do not translate well in the Kindle edition. Very washed out.
Still I learned much about Tut, Horemheb, and Ay. Good look at issues of conflict....more
Cleopatra has been fastinating people ever since she took the throne, and she didn't even have a modern PR person. This book was the companion to theCleopatra has been fastinating people ever since she took the throne, and she didn't even have a modern PR person. This book was the companion to the National Geographic travelling show, which I did not see.
First, the pictures are stunning. It's worth the cost of the book alone. Nice underwater photos. Beautiful.
However, the infromation about Cleopatra is very general and highlights her sexuality more than her political presence. I lost count how many times "pleasure palace", "lover affair", "beautiful" were mentioned. It is unclear if this is the authors' own leanings, (Both Hawass and Goddio wrote parts of the book)or if it was done as marketing, which seems more likely.
It seems that a good part of the book is to argue that Cleopatra is buried at Taposiris Magna. This theory was first put forward by Kathleen Martinez who, interstingly, doesn't have a piece here. Why? Hawass gives her credit, he gives her alot of credit, so why not have piece by her in this book? Because she would focus on Cleopatra's brain and not her body?
Maybe, but that omission is what makes me give the book three stars. Yet the price for the book is well worth it just to look at the amazing pictures. ...more
Ah, those silly anicents, leaving great treasures buried but forgetting to mark the X on the map. Poor Tut, he should've copyrighted his own death, coAh, those silly anicents, leaving great treasures buried but forgetting to mark the X on the map. Poor Tut, he should've copyrighted his own death, considering how many people seem to make money off of it. Or maybe Egypt should've.
I must have seen the documentary that Brier did that inspired his book. I know I have seen his other specials. His like Simon Schmna, interesting to listen to but something about those mannerisms.
Brier's book is quite easy to read, and while he writes for an non-Egypt specialist, such as moi, he doesn't think his reader is an idiot. He presumes that a reader intersted enough to read his book knows something, so while he does give background infromation, it is like a refresher course. His style and tone are great; he is much better to read than to watch. He is very, very clear and painstakingly honest about when he guesses and when he knows for sure. Because Brier's allows the reader to access his (Brier's) fasination with Tut, the book feels very personal.
But this also weakens his argument. While Brier does an excellent job as a prosecutor in terms of his defendent, the problem is that one has the feeling, encouraged by Brier's honestly, that defendent is chosen simply due to Brier's dislike. In some ways, this is like reading Cornwall's Portrait Of A Killer: Jack The Ripper -- Case Closed. Though this comparsion is hugely unfair and slightly inaccurate. Unlike Cornwall, Brier is honest, brutally honest, about his prejudice and, more importantly, he consults and cites outside experts who owe him nothing, who don't work for him, and have no reason to curry his favor. Which makes him much better than Cornwall because even though he has predjudices and goes into the case with a theory to prove and not discover, he at least admits it, constantly....more
A very detailed examnation of first hand experiences with Islamic women in the Middle East. I hadn't read anything by Brooks before, though two of herA very detailed examnation of first hand experiences with Islamic women in the Middle East. I hadn't read anything by Brooks before, though two of her novels are in my TBR pile, and picked this up at Borders going out of business sale because it looked interesting.
Brooks is one brave mama, I must say.
The presentation is rather interesting and it is somewhat surprsing, at least to the reader, that even women who are fundamentalist or anti-American (or Anti-Jewish even) are presented in such a light that while you dislike or hated thier politics (or isms), you like the women. This is a far more open approach than what it makes it on to American news, and reminds me of the International News Network before Al Gore brought it and turned it into Current. Thank God, for MHZ.
At times the book will make you laugh, as when people show up to a college wanting to arrest St. Thomas Aquinis. At times, the book will frustate you, as when when talking about female geneital cutting (ruining, mutialating(and strangely timely for me, considering I know a woman who revealed that it had be done to her). Imensely readable....more
This book is a detailed history of jinn and not the Robin Williams Hollywood version. Lebling is engaging and discusses many different sources while lThis book is a detailed history of jinn and not the Robin Williams Hollywood version. Lebling is engaging and discusses many different sources while looking carefully at the stories. The book is full of interesting facts. The only draw back is that towards the end, it starts feeling like a list....more
John Knox, who according to a suscept legend is buried beneath a car park in Edinburgh, managed to anger every single woman ruler of3.5 stars, really.
John Knox, who according to a suscept legend is buried beneath a car park in Edinburgh, managed to anger every single woman ruler of his time with the writing of a tract stating the belief that women should not rule. Elizabeth I, who he later tried to mollify (he didn't mean her, obivously, just those Catholic females), wasn't impressed. One cannot help but wonder what Cleopatra would've made of him. Would she have fed him to the crocodiles? Would she have laughed long and loud at him? It is impossible to answer the question for in many ways Cleopatra belongs as much to legend and literature as she does to history, perhaps even more so because of the lack of the historical record.
It is this lack of clear sources, of first hand accounts and of the Egyptian side of the story, that causes the fasination people have with Cleopatra. In many ways, she is a blank slate. On one hand, she inspires writers like Chaucer and Shakespeare. She has been cloned, immortalized, a vampire, and a magican. The fasination also leads to biography after biography about the Egyptian queen, many of which read like fiction.
At one point, Cleopatra was the immoral whore who stood in stark relief to women like Octavia who represented the good and sexless mother. Sheis the object of desire for two great men, and nothing more. More recently, she has been reclaimed as a powerful and talented ruler.
Schiff is the latest in a line historians to tackle this seemingly engima of the Egyptian queen by putting her in context. Like all Cleopatra biographers, Schiff faces the problem of sources, Roman sources who are writing at several years removed from events and with an obivious bias aganist the queen. While Schiff says we shouldn't trust them, she does, at times, trust them. It would help the reader to know why we should distrust Plutarch at one point and then believe him thirty pages later. Additionally, Schiff glosses over or ignores areas where the history isn't clear - for instance, the question of how many older sisters Cleopatra had. Schiff sides with just one, but doesn't show the reader how she reaches this conclusion (and considering that Egyptalogists seemed unsure on this question, I would've liked a little more infromation in that regard).
Schiff also seems guilty of romantanizing Cleopatra in the same way that she states fictional writers do. It is quite easy to Schiff writing about Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra rather than a Cleopatra Cleopatra. A truly wonderful biography leaves the reader with a feeling of knowing the subject. While this has to be extremely difficult and, perhaps, rare for biographes that deal with anicent figures, this books presents Cleopatra as a ghostly figure, one that does not appear in other biographies.
This isn't to say that the book is not good. Schiff can write. Period, full stop. She can write. She has a wonderful tone. (That's why it is 3.5). Her language is engrossing, and she writes in such a way that even a reader familiar with Cleopatra's life can enjoy the ride. The problem is that the book doesn't present the clear picture of time and place and subject that works by Michael Grant and Joyce A. Tyldesley do, works that Schiff used according to her biblography....more
Perhaps Goodreads Interns can read this book and get a real idea of what bullying and threatening authors looks like.
Perhaps it is difficult for peopPerhaps Goodreads Interns can read this book and get a real idea of what bullying and threatening authors looks like.
Perhaps it is difficult for people today to understand the furor that arose when Satanic Verses (SV) first came out. Even with the Danish Cartoons of a few years ago, it almost seemed to belong to another time. Perhaps this has to done with how the news media covered the cartoons. I’m not sure. Yet the conversation, the clash of culture and belief will occur again and again unless dialogue occurs, a dialogue that leads to cultural understanding and an acknowledgement that different cultures work differently. That they should be allowed to work differently without death threats.
This book is about dialogue and understanding, if it is about anything else other than Rushdie.
I’m a Yank. I believe strongly in the First Amendment. I think freedom of speech is essential for any society. I do, also, understand the fact that such freedom does not include making people listen to you when you do speak. Tom Cruise can say whatever he wants about mental illness. I, however, have the right to call him stupid and to refuse to see any of his movies, even the one with the cool Brits.
I do not have the right to threaten his life.
I will even concede, as much as find the action disturbing, that if Mr. Smith buys a book and wants to burn, he can.
He cannot burn my copy nor should he forbid me access to a copy.
Additionally, while I can legally call my boss all types of names without being locked up, no law says he can’t fire me. And should I ever be asked to endorse anything and knowingly sign a morality clause, then I am knowingly giving the company a right to penalize me for actions. They can’t make me work for them. They can’t threaten my life.
The question of censorship, I will also grant, becomes murky when the idea of a nation or society’s security enters into the question. A government cannot be totally transparent in today’s world of the internet; too much information could fall into the wrong hands. If holding information back makes a search for a killer or rapist easier then the police should do that. The news, however, shouldn’t be either the government or the police’s lap dog. It is a complex question with a more complex and shifting answer. Additionally, America isn’t like countries that have blasphemy laws (the U.K. for instance) or hate speech laws (such as Canada. Though America does have hate crime laws). There is a reason, a good one, for why freedom of expression is NO. 1 in the Bill of Rights.
I’ve read SV; I enjoyed the book, though I think The Enchantress of Florence is better. I must admit that if I were a devout Muslim, I would feel very offended.
But in the world that Rushdie chooses to live, guess what, he has the right to say offensive things.
This book presents a collection of newspaper articles, op-eds, letters, interview transcripts, and government missives that were published during the first rush of the publication of SV. The book covers all aspects of the blaze, presenting Rushdie supporters, detractors, and those who tried to reach a middle ground. The text of the Fatwa is reprinted here as all various responses, including those from devout Muslims who disagreed with the edict.
It should be noted that it appears that Appigninsi, at least, is on the freedom of speech side (something that is clear from her interview in the movie The Rushdie Affair). The book, however, is very even and doesn’t succumb to stereotypes. The editors include thoughts from everyday people but also comments from established writers and politicians (Dahl and Carter, for instance). Sometimes it is surprising where people stand. The book does seem to leave out an important detail, at least an important detail for a non British subject. Some of the debate over the publication of SV in Britain occurred over the use of the British Blasphemy law. Protestors argued that the book was a violated of the law, and if the law applied only to Christianity, then the law should be extended to all faiths. Apparently, British courts and law council said the blasphemy law only applied to Christianity. I would’ve liked to see a copy of this law, for it is impossible not to see the fairness of applying such a law to every religion (or better yet, getting rid of the law itself). Why should Christianity be the only protected religion? While I disagree with what the protestors were trying to do, I have to admit they do have a point about this law. It seems really unfair and racist.
Yet despite this omission, the book is very balanced and is NOT one sided. In fact, the book explores the issue fully, including essays that examine why British Muslims in particular and Muslims in general responded in such way, and the examination does not say because religion made them – it is about society and poverty and everything else. The editorial comments are kept to an absolute minimum, allowing the texts to speak and letting the reader reach a conclusion. ...more
About a year ago, I was watching Animal Plant or the National Geographic channel. I can't remember which one. Anyhow, there was this American, you knoAbout a year ago, I was watching Animal Plant or the National Geographic channel. I can't remember which one. Anyhow, there was this American, you know the kind that makes all Americans cringe. He was going in some cave filled with water and bat poop to look at snakes. He made this poor snake barf up its meal of bat to prove that snakes kill bats in the dark. He let the snake back in the murk, and a couple minutes got bite by a snake (if there is any justice, the same snake). The snake wasn't posionous (it was a type of constrictor), but its teeth were sharp and the guy was walking in water mixed with bat poop (why, he thought this was a good thing, I don't know). To be fair, it looked like the snake got him pretty good. So nature guy leaves the cave and starts the long hike back to the truck (cause the cave is in the middle of nowhere), complaining all the time about how he's making the hike alone and so it's hard because the bite hurts.
All the time, however, you can see the camera man's legs.
Schama's book isn't like that nature guy, who got to keep his leg. What the book does, in some ways, is explain why guys like that get television shows.
People are conflicted about landscapes see. Men went to conquer them, and women, according to Schama, went to have union with them.
I haven't read anything by Schama before. I have watched and also own on DVD, his History of Britain and The Power of Art (which is good, but not as good as Private Life of a Masterpiece). I like them, and Schama seems smart, but I can't take his facial expressions when he talks. It's like he has this combination of smelling something icky, mixed with disdain. It's werid. The voice is no problem, but his facial expression freak me out.
It's actually a pretty good book because there are no facial expressions. True in some parts, it seems as if Schama is writing to just to read himself, but in other parts he seems brillant.
Schama covers the politics around the history of the Robin Hood legend as well as the building of fountains and waterworks. He describes how people have viewed arcadia, rock, tree, and water. He focuses, it should be noted, on Western culture for the most part. France, Italy, England, and the USA make up most of the work.
I found the part about Mt. Rushmore to be intersting because I hadn't known that there was a movement to put Susan B. Anthony on the mountain. Schama describes that sequence with humor and empathy....more
What is it about anicent Egypt? Would I like to go and live back in that time? No, I like, really like, indoor plumbing. There is something about anicWhat is it about anicent Egypt? Would I like to go and live back in that time? No, I like, really like, indoor plumbing. There is something about anicent Egypt that interests many people. Maybe it's because it gave the world arkwork like the tomb paintings.
This book is an overview in layman's termso of Egypt's religion. It is not a collection of myths, but it is an examnation of religion and how it effected Egyptians.
The book is highly informative, though having some general knowledge about Egypt helps. At times, however, the writing is a little dry.
There is something about Mediaeval Romances that modern day romances lack. Take for instance, "Aucassin and Nicolette". On the face of it, the story mThere is something about Mediaeval Romances that modern day romances lack. Take for instance, "Aucassin and Nicolette". On the face of it, the story might look too simple, two lovers and his father doesn't like the girl. Yet, there is something far more touching about Aucassin's repeating "my sweet friend" when describing Nicolette. Somehow it makes his love seem far more real. I was even willing to forgive him his rather sexists views about women and love. (I actually wanted to introduce him to Anne from Persuasion and let her talk to him).
Most of the other tales are similar to others. For instance, there is a form of Marie de France's "Lanvel". There is a fore runner of Shakespeare's Cymbeline. Of an interest, however, are the tale of King Florus and Jehne, which features one of those crossing dressing heroines that Shakespeare so likes. Also of interst is the "Tal of Asrenth", which is about Joseph's Egyptian wife....more
Despite the title, the book is less about Cleopatra and Antony, and more simply about the Romans, in particular Caeser, Antony, and Octavian.
And that,Despite the title, the book is less about Cleopatra and Antony, and more simply about the Romans, in particular Caeser, Antony, and Octavian.
And that, in short, is my only problem with this book.
Preston writes in her introduction that Cleopatra deserves first place when listing the couple and that much of what we know about Cleopatra comes from Octavian's propganda machine. Considering this and the title itself, one would think that the book delivers Cleopatra and Antony from the propganda machine.
One would be half right.
Preston does a very good job in redeeming Antony and showing him to be more than just a drunk who liked a good time. Too often, regardless of a pro Cleopatra or Pro Octavian camp, writers make Antony into a worthless jerk. Preston does not do that.
But Cleopatra isn't really in the book.
And Preston keeps quoting the propganda without going into much depth about what might be wrong about it.
Preston's book is more about Roman politics, understandable considering how Cleopatra was in part influenced/ connected to Rome. The drawback to this, and it is a huge drawback, is that Cleopatra comes across as a woman who did little more than wait around for Caeser or Antony to show up. One even forgets about her. This cheapens her. She does not come across as a strong ruler because Preston spends so little time showcasing Cleopatra as ruling by herself. The reader sees Antony and the other Romans acting independently, but never really sees Cleopatra doing so. This absence is somewhat understandable, I suppose. Battles are more interesting than dealing with famines, but still more effect could have gone into the few, very few, Cleopatra sections of the book.
What is even worse about this presentation of Cleopatra is that it presents her solely from Roman eyes, making her little more than a flunkie and still defining her though a lens that is somewhat disinterested if not out right hostile. For a better book on Cleopatra in the context of her own culture, read Cleopatra Last Queen of Egypt.
This aside, the book outside of its treatment of Cleopatra is quite enjoyable. Preston does a very good job at explaining Roman politics without confusing the reader or sounding boring. She also has a bunch of interesting facts that I did not know. Like, for instance, that gladiators had to wear appartatuses to stop them from any sexual indulgence a week before they fought (it sounds painful). The footnotes are wonderfully and amusing. Additionally, despite the absence of Cleopatra, Preston does spend time describing Cleopatra's family tree. I don't know why they are remaking I, Claudius when they could be doing a very nice version with the Ptolemies. The Ptolemies really knew how to do soap opera.
So three stars due to a lack of Cleo, but still a good book to read if you are interested in the time period....more
Gedge's Seer of Eygpt is more of a character study than an actualy adventuring book. There is not much in the way of action. There is, however, much aGedge's Seer of Eygpt is more of a character study than an actualy adventuring book. There is not much in the way of action. There is, however, much about cost and life choses, and the penalities of those choices. It is a look into questions surronding fate.
Update March 2013 Still like it, and I find myself enjoying the small things in the book more. Ishat is one of the coolest characters ever....more
Before I start this review, I have to thank Sisimka. She's the reason I have this book. Thank you Sisimka.
Helen might have been the face that launchedBefore I start this review, I have to thank Sisimka. She's the reason I have this book. Thank you Sisimka.
Helen might have been the face that launched a thousand ships, but Cleopatra went further with a vulture beak on her face. Honestly, Cleopatra's nose was ugly. Yet, society credits Cleopatra with being a great beauty. A sexual adventuress, a femme fatale, a hot, murdering mama. But not really a mother, though she did have four children.
Lucy Hughes-Hallett examines the myths and views of Cleopatra thoughout the ages. She spends the first section of the book going into detail about Ocatvain's story about Cleopatra versus what Cleopatra's story might have been. It is this first section of the book that provides biographically detail. Readers should be warned, however, that this book is not a biography of Cleopatra. Readers who want a straight forward biography should check out Michael Grant's work. The second half of the book deals with how artists and writers thoughout the ages have treated Cleopatra. The book was published in 199o so more recent treatments such as The Memoirs of Cleopatra are not mentioned.
Hallett raises several interesting points. We are fasnicated by Cleopatra, but even today it is more in terms of her love affairs (and it seems she only had two) more than anything else. How many people reading this review, for instance, knew Cleopatra had four children? Having her as a mother limits the sexual beauty of Cleopatra that society has in its mind. The same is true of Helen, who was a mother when she abanonded husband and child to run off with Paris. Hallett focues on the idea of Cleopatra as other, as the Orient to the West and how each author uses Cleopatra to show how HE and his society sees women.
What I found to be very interesting is the sheer number of paintings that show Cleopatra having the asp bite her breast when she commits suicide (Ouch!). There is proably some deep symbolism here, the inversion of life or something, and I wish Hallett had gone into that aspect of it a bit more.
Hallett's conclusions still ring true today. Even in a pro-Cleopatra novel like The Memoirs of Cleopatrathe plot focuces on the love affairs. Cleopatra comes across as a saint and the men are not good enough for her. Then there is the other extreme, Cleopatra the queenly whore as in For Destiny or Desire. Cleopatra becomes what the writer wants her to be, sainted matyr or trashy romance heroine, not really who she was. ...more
Re-Read March 2013 - Really good character study. Ishat rocks.
I discovered Pauline Gedge eight years during a trip to Montreal. I brought Child of theRe-Read March 2013 - Really good character study. Ishat rocks.
I discovered Pauline Gedge eight years during a trip to Montreal. I brought Child of the Morning and loved it. This book, The Twice Born is her best work to date.
The book does not have much physical action, so if you are in the mood for battles between huge armies, this book doesn't have it. What this book does, and does well, is offer a mediation on fate. Huy is the twice born. He died and came back. He can now see into the future and commune with the Egyptian gods. Huy, however, would rather live a normal life. Gedge offers us a fated character and how he comes to term with his fate. The book includes discussion about belief, about fate, and about being true to yourself.
Gedge does an excellent job painting ancient Egypt for the reader. The reader gets a good feel for the time and place. All of Gedge's characters live and move. No character is too similar and all seem to be nice layered....more
When everyone thinks of great Shakespearean plays, Hamlet springs to mind, or Lear , or The Tempest, or Dream or the lust filled R&J. I, however,When everyone thinks of great Shakespearean plays, Hamlet springs to mind, or Lear , or The Tempest, or Dream or the lust filled R&J. I, however, think Tony and Cleo, if I may be informal, is one of Shakespeare's best.
Instead of the heady, young lust, sorry, love that is R&J we are presented with a mature love affair, a love affair that perhaps echoes the court of King James I. A world where the playwright is entirely sympathetic to an Antony who allows his appetite to dominate him. What we are also given, and what rarely gets acknowledged, is a wonderful and at times stark portrayal of power and the politics surrounding it. The play itself as wonderful comments about the nature of getting and keeping power, and about the politics underlings must play in order to keep their heads....more
The three novels at that make up this collection are riveting and excellent reading. The first concerns the Pharaoh Khufru and his heirs, the second tThe three novels at that make up this collection are riveting and excellent reading. The first concerns the Pharaoh Khufru and his heirs, the second the love of a Pharaoh for a concubine (based on an ancient story and with a Cinderella flavor), and the last the fight of the Egyptian natives to overthrow Hyksos. The second story contains some wonderful poetical passages. I also wonder how much the third novel is stands for British/Egyptian relations at the time of its publication....more
Sometimes a book length allegory can become oppressive or repetitive or simply boring. Not this one. Children of the Alley is a book about faith and bSometimes a book length allegory can become oppressive or repetitive or simply boring. Not this one. Children of the Alley is a book about faith and belief. Each section presents as an allegorical story that relates to a major religious figure in Christianity, Islam, or Judaism. The character become more than simple allegorical figures; Mahfouz makes them human (just as the alley is more than a simple alley). The book is not heavy hand in its story, and its most chilling section is the last section (though you could say that the whole book is somber in tone). It is an important read....more
Throne of Isis is set during Cleopatra's reign, though Cleopatra is not the main character. The setting serves as a backdrop for a romance between a RThrone of Isis is set during Cleopatra's reign, though Cleopatra is not the main character. The setting serves as a backdrop for a romance between a Roman and an Egyptian. Tarr's book is very good, and she presents a very believable portrait of Egypt's infamous or famous last Pharaoh. ...more