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Cleopatra: A Life

Unabridged Audio Book

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Robin Miles

14 Hours 30 Minutes

Hachette Book Group USA

November 2010

Audio Book Summary

The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt.

Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.

Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and--after his murder--three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.

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.

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Reviews

  • Sergio C.

    This book came recommended to me by Blue from Overly Sarcastic Productions. I find the recommendation very much worth it as Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff puts a lot of Cleopatra into perspective, taking her from legend written about in the perspective of men to a living, breathing person with success as well as failure. That, more than anything, makes this work wonderful in my opinion. By giving context to Cleopatra's life history, and circumstances, Cleopatra comes across more alive than ever. If you find yourself finding her to be a marvel and deifying this ruler for her education, work, and effort, then you have only come to appreciate her a fraction as Pulitzer Prize winning Stacy Schiff has I think. Give it a listen. It is worth the time. This is one biography I know I'll be buying in hardback soon enough.

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  • Margie T.

    I love this book!

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  • Gerald Schweitzer

    A powerful understanding the life of Cleopatria from an historical understanding of the times and culture of her time. No doubt the her life is more powerful than her legend.

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