Carly Thompson's Reviews > Cleopatra: A Life

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
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's review
Jan 18, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: 2011, biography-autobiography, famous-women, history, listened-to-on-audio

I had some difficulty getting through this audiobook and set it aside to try something else before returning to it. Since I usually don't read/enjoy books about antiquity (with the exception of I, Claudius) there was that hurdle for me to overcome. Most of the sources about Cleopatra were written many years after she died and were written by her enemies (a point that Schiff explains in detail); therefore good, accurate information about her life is hard to come by. There are many things that are simply unknown (her feelings toward Marc Anthony and Cesar, for example)and historians can only suppose her motivations and feelings. I would have preferred to read a fictionalized account of her life that was able to bring her inner life into focus.

Schiff is an excellent stylist and I learned much that I previously did not about the Roman empire and Egypt under the Ptolmaic dynasty. This book would appeal to readers who enjoy history and biography.

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