Michelle Stie's Reviews > Cleopatra

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
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's review
Jul 22, 11

bookshelves: biography
Read in July, 2011

History is written by the winners, and Cleopatra's rotten reputation was cemented when Roman historians got a hold of her story. In her new biography, Schiff attempts to resurrect the "real" Cleopatra by meticulously going through records, artifacts, and histories of Cleopatra's rein. There is much speculation to Schiff's presentation of the Queen, but her work is well-researched and she relies not only on contemporary descriptions of Cleopatra, but on general histories and commentaries about the life and times of Romans and Egyptians to help her expand on what Cleopatra's world must have been like. Given the meticulousness of Schiff's research and her novelist's sense of narrative, I believe the biographer is successful in her attempts to present a much more well-rounded version of one of the few Empresses in world history. One of the best moments of Schiff's book describes Cleopatra's purple-sailed journey on a barge to seduce Mark Antony--a scene even Shakespeare couldn't improve. Cleopatra was obviously a woman of great power, great intelligence, and great theater. I enjoyed the biography and my "rediscovery" of a woman I only knew from pop culture.
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38.0% "Slow going."

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message 1: by Ken (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ken This book was the subject of a Jeopardy question today. I'll be curious to hear what you think about it.

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