Another Review at MyShelf.Com

A Life
Stacy Schiff

Hachette Audio
September 6, 2011/ ISBN 1611139155
Biography / Audio CD (Unabridged)

Reviewed by Jo Rogers

Despite all the movies and stories written about Cleopatra, very little is actually known about her. Stacy Schiff has done some amazing research in an effort to separate fact from fiction. You might wonder why we don’t know one of the most famous queens in history. After all, she lived in an era of recorded history. But history is only as accurate as the historian can make it, or is allowed to make it. Even then, it had to be “politically correct” if the historian wanted to keep his job and his head.

What do we really know about Cleopatra? We know she was the seventh Egyptian Queen named Cleopatra. She was also Egypt’s last pharaoh. After her death at the age of thirty-nine, Egypt fell to Augustus Caesar. She would never be ruled by a pharaoh again, though she would regain her independence after Rome fell.

We are not sure what Cleopatra looked like, though we can assume the image used on the Egyptian coins was fairly accurate. That is the only portrait of her made. We don’t really know what her personality was like, because the only recorded accounts were not left by Cleopatra or by her loyal subjects, but by Romans, her enemies. Cicero slanted his description to fit his hatred of the exotic queen’s control of Julius Caesar.

The book is well-written and filled with interesting information about this famed Egyptian queen. I learned a lot I had never heard. For one, I found in the recording of history, true facts are often a casualty. I wish there was a machine with which we could see the past and keep history honest. But, if you’re like me and fascinated by Egyptian history, “Cleopatra: A Life” is a must-listen. Try it for yourself.

Reviewed 2011
© 2011