As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

March 13, 2011

CLEOPATRA: A LIFE by Stacy Schiff, 2010

Cleopatra: A LifeThe Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt . . . Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra's supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life. (Amazon)

Reviewed by Kathleen Bossenbroek, High School English Teacher

This book is fabulous! I learned so much. Whenever I heard Cleopatra I just pictured a dark-haired temptress being fed grapes (lame I know). Stacy Shiff will totally change what you thought you knew about Cleopatra. Her biography is brilliantly written (not surprising..she has won a Pulitzer Prize before). Her descriptions of the clothing, architecture, day-to-day life and ideology of both the Alexandrians and the Romans is fascinating. While reading I kept ask my husband, "hey, did you know...?" Even if Cleopatra doesn't sound like your cup of tea (or wine), you might still be interested in reading to find about the Egyptians  or Caesar.

It took me awhile to get through it. I was looking on maps and looking up names. A weekend will not be enough time to finish this book. Once you are through though, you will be glad you took the time.

Market: Nonfiction
Language: None
Sensuality: very, very mild
Violence: None
Mature Themes: history ... real life

Book formats:

To learn more about the author, visit: Stacy Schiff


Amy Finnegan {} said...

I don't read biographies a lot, but when I do, I'm always SO surprised by how much I enjoy them!

And this one looks really great! Thanks for the review, Kathleen!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this sounds wonderful! I'm like you, Stacy, before you read this book--I have a pretty limited idea of who Cleopatra was. But I am fascinated by history (ironic?). I'll add this book to my To Read list! Thanks for the great review!

Chrissie said...

okay.. I'm going to have to get this one.. thanks for the review!!! I would have never known.

Laura Howard said...

I totally think of the dark haired, gold-bangled temptress... Not so much? Cover is gorgeous! If I were to read Cleopatra it would be my first ever biography read for pleasure. I've heard it's good for writers to step outside the box and read historical biographies, so what better place to start than Cleopatra?!

Anita Wells said...

I was also very impressed by both her writing and the history she brought to life. It gave me a much better understanding of that historical era and the strong leader that Cleopatra was. A must read!

Emilee said...

I started reading this book, but didn't have the time to devote to it that my limited library check out time would allow. But I enjoyed what I did read and hope to pick it up again someday.

Brittney said...

I learned about your site through Infarrantly Creative and am following you now. I would love to win this book!

Theresa N. said...

I've heard lots about her and I'm always wanting to know more. Infarrantly Creative sent me and I'm follwing you on goggle.
Theresa N