From the Bookshelf of History is Not Boring

Cleopatra: A Life
by
Start date
November 21, 2010
Finish date
January 31, 2011

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What Members Thought

Nicholas
The number one most read and liked review of this book on this site is completely off-base and this review is pretty much going to be a defense of Cleopatra in response to Elizabeth Sulzby's unfair mischaracterization of the work (beginning with her ludicrous shelving of the piece as "historicalfiction").

As someone trained in the art of history research and writing, a history teacher, and a published historian, I found Cleopatra impressive and an eloquent piece of first-rate scholarship. Schiff
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Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
I found this a very interesting read.

Schiff makes a point of emphasizing how much we don't know about Cleopatra, and why. How the ancient sources often don't agree with each other, and why some may (or may not) be more trustworthy than others.

How we don't have Cleopatra's version of things handed down, but Octavian's.
Kaarin
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was well researched, well written and full facts about the life of Cleopatra and those surrounding her. The author did a good job or trying to separate out the biased opinions of the ‘winners’ to find some sort of truth within. I do feel the author assumed you would already have a basic knowledge of Cleopatra and her life before reading this novel. I did not have this background and therefore felt a bit lost at times. I also felt that the book could get a big bogged down in facts and c ...more
Pang
Drama, drama, drama. Before this book, I didn't know much about Cleopatra. She was quite a fascinating woman. I think she was a survivor and tough. I get the feeling that she would have done better if Caesar was alive and that Marc Antony, in a way, was responsible for her ending. He was weak and may be even incompetent.

While the story was gripping, I found the writing to be less than enjoyable. I can't pin-point it exactly why, but it felt rushed. It felt nothing like other non-fiction I'd read
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Kerri
Sep 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I was really excited to read it, but maybe my expectations were too high, because I just felt underwhelmed reading it. Maybe I was too familiar with the subject matter, because there were really no revelations or surprises for me about Cleopatra's life. I didn't really expect many, since I have read a lot on the time period, but I was expecting to enjoy being immersed in it for this book, and I didn't love it. I should have loved it, but I didn't and I ...more
Tracy
Nov 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book put me in mind of a quote from the 1995 film adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion:

Captain Harville: Let me just observe that all histories are against you, all stories, prose, and verse. I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which did not have something to say on women's fickleness.

Anne Elliot: But they were all written by men.

The only way for historians to explain Cleopatra's powerful influence was to make her into a beguiling temptress. How else could stalwart Romans get
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itpdx
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stacy Schiff has done an amazing job writing a biography of someone that only fragmentary, and not very reliable information has come down to us more than 2000 years after her life and death. Not only that, Schiff has written an account that is lively and well told. She is working with the life of a woman whose history was written by her conquerors and by men who evidently did not know what to make of an intelligent and successful woman.
But, boy, am I glad that I don't live in an era where the
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Deodand
A true 2-star "OK". I wanted to like this book more; I certainly looked forward to reading it and was a bit disappointed. I knew that the material was thin. Anyone attempting a Cleopatra bio must take tweezers to history and pull her out of everyone else's memoirs and bios. I felt that there wasn't much story to tell. This book has quite a bit of filler in it about Caesar and Antony.
Gracee
Started,and was about 4% into it, I didn't realize this would read like a history textbook. Not my type of story..because there really isn't one. Not my thing, so off the Kindle it goes.
Tracyene
Jan 17, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Donna
Dec 24, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Kelly
Apr 24, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Jennifer
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
William
Sep 26, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
Christine
Jan 06, 2011 marked it as wish-list  ·  review of another edition
Katey
Mar 04, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wishlist
Joanna
Nov 18, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Kelly
Oct 07, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Staci
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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