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.
In this dazzling work of history, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author follows Benjamin Franklin to France for the crowning achievement of his career

In December of 1776 a small boat delivered an old man to France." So begins an enthralling narrative account of how Benjamin Franklin--seventy years old, without any diplomatic training, and possessed of the most rudimentary French--convinced France, an absolute monarchy, to underwrite America's experiment in democracy.

When Franklin stepped onto French soil, he well understood he was embarking on the greatest gamble of his career. By virtue of fame, charisma, and ingenuity, Franklin outmaneuvered British spies, French informers, and hostile colleagues; engineered the Franco-American alliance of 1778; and helped to negotiate the peace of 1783. The eight-year French mission stands not only as Franklin's most vital service to his country but as the most revealing of the man.

In A Great Improvisation, Stacy Schiff draws from new and little-known sources to illuminate the least-explored part of Franklin's life. Here is an unfamiliar, unforgettable chapter of the Revolution, a rousing tale of American infighting, and the treacherous backroom dealings at Versailles that would propel George Washington from near decimation at Valley Forge to victory at Yorktown. From these pages emerge a particularly human and yet fiercely determined Founding Father, as well as a profound sense of how fragile, improvisational, and international was our country's bid for independence.

Laureatka Nagrody Pulitzera prezentuje najbardziej intrygującą kobietę w dziejach świata - królową Egiptu Kleopatrę.

Bogini. Najbardziej wpływowa i najbardziej pociągająca kobieta swoich czasów. Kochanka Juliusza Cezara i Marka Antoniusza. Żona - kolejno - swoich dwóch braci i morderczyni jednego z nich. Matka. Samobójczyni.

Życie Kleopatry VII, ostatniej królowej hellenistycznego Egiptu, obfitowało w wydarzenia, które na zawsze uczyniły ją inspiracją dla twórców. Dzięki temu pamięć o niej pozostała wiecznie żywa, ale też uległa zniekształceniu - prawdziwa Kleopatra zniknęła gdzieś pod warstwami farby, inkaustu, taśmy filmowej.

Stacy Schiff w swojej książce odczarowuje Kleopatrę, zdejmując z niej, warstwa po warstwie, ów szlachetny kulturowy osad, oddzielając fakty od fikcji. Buduje przy tym obraz antycznego świata, bo osadza swoją bohaterkę pośród ludzi z krwi i kości, na tle ówczesnych realiów. Przy okazji portretuje również jej dwóch sławnych kochanków, a wraz z nimi przybliża polityczną zawieruchę w ówczesnym imperium rzymskim.

Jednak to nie polityka i nie wodzowie są głównymi bohaterami, ale ona - kobieta, o której Blaise Pascal powiedział, że nawet kształtem nosa wpłynęła na kształt świata.

Stacy Schiff demitologizuje postać egipskiej królowej, która została szczelnie opleciona wyobrażeniami Szekspira, Shawa i Elisabeth Taylor.

„The New York Times"

Biografia ukazuje egipską władczynię zarówno jako sprytnego politycznego stratega, wykorzystującego swoje romanse do budowania wpływów, jak i najsławniejszą osobistość swoich czasów.

„Los Angeles Times"

Schiff, autorka nagrodzonej Pulitzerem biografii Véry Nabokov, z mitycznej postaci wydobywa prawdziwą Kleopatrę. Wiedza Schiff jest imponująca, ale została ubrana w lekkie słowa i przekazana z wielkim wyczuciem ludzkiej natury.

„Vanity Fair"

Schiff zabiera nas w czasy i miejsca, które można określić zarówno jako „orgie grabieży i mordu", jak i jako „Paryż antycznego świata". [...] Nakreślony przez Schiff portret ukazuje charyzmatyczną postać, płynnie mówiącą ośmioma językami, która przez dwadzieścia dwa lata rządziła przebogatym państwem-miastem. Jej panowanie zakończyła owiana legendą makabryczna śmierć...

„Elle"

Stacy Schiff napisała książkę, której brakowałoby nam, gdyby nie powstała.

„The Wall Street Journal"

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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