The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut's Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt

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An engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power.
 
Hatshepsut—the daughter of a general who usurped Egypt's throne—was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir, however, paved the way for her improbable rule as a cross-dressing king. At just over twenty, Hatshepsut out-maneuvered the mother of Thutmose III, the infant king, for a seat on the throne, and ascended to the rank of pharaoh.

Shrewdly operating the levers of power to emerge as Egypt's second female pharaoh, Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays in the veil of piety and sexual reinvention. She successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods.

Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power—and why she fell from public favor just as quickly. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.

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About the author

KARA COONEY is an associate professor of Egyptian art and architecture at UCLA in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. In 2005, she was co-curator of Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Cooney produced a comparative archaeology series entitled Out of Egypt, which aired on the Discovery Channel and is streaming on Netflix.

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3.9
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Additional Information

Publisher
Crown
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Published on
Oct 14, 2014
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780307956781
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
Biography & Autobiography / Women
History / Ancient / Egypt
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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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.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Magisterial . . . [A] rich portrait of ancient Egypt’s complex evolution over the course of three millenniums.”—Los Angeles Times
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • Publishers Weekly
 
In this landmark volume, one of the world’s most renowned Egyptologists tells the epic story of this great civilization, from its birth as the first nation-state to its absorption into the Roman Empire. Drawing upon forty years of archaeological research, award-winning scholar Toby Wilkinson takes us inside a tribal society with a pre-monetary economy and decadent, divine kings who ruled with all-too-recognizable human emotions. Here are the legendary leaders: Akhenaten, the “heretic king,” who with his wife Nefertiti brought about a revolution with a bold new religion; Tutankhamun, whose dazzling tomb would remain hidden for three millennia; and eleven pharaohs called Ramesses, the last of whom presided over the militarism, lawlessness, and corruption that caused a political and societal decline. Filled with new information and unique interpretations, The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt is a riveting and revelatory work of wild drama, bold spectacle, unforgettable characters, and sweeping history.
 
“With a literary flair and a sense for a story well told, Mr. Wilkinson offers a highly readable, factually up-to-date account.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“[Wilkinson] writes with considerable verve. . . . [He] is nimble at conveying the sumptuous pageantry and cultural sophistication of pharaonic Egypt.”—The New York Times
One of the nation’s most respected Egyptologists examines the compelling mystery behind the death of King Tutankhamen.

“Can the truth be known about a possible murder that would have been committed 3,000 years ago? Respected Egyptologist Bob Brier, specialist in paleopathology and host of the Learning Channel’s acclaimed series The Great Egyptians, believes it can. Skillfully combining known historical events with evidence gathered by advanced technologies, Brier has re-created the suspenseful story of religious upheaval and political intrigue that likely resulted in the murder of the teenage king Tutankhamen. . . . Breathing life into old bones and artifacts, Brier examines all available evidence to arrive at ‘the most reasonable explanation for a tragic event,’ an explanation that, he says, is testable through the use of current technology on the mummified remains of the ancient king.”—Booklist (starred review)

“Brier's 3,000-year-old mystery steadily draws the reader into the curious and exotic world of Egyptology. . . . By the time you finish his intrigue-filled reconstruction of Tutankhamen’s world—which includes such elements as teenage love, religious heresy,  the Orwellian rewriting of history and the desperate pleas of a terrified queen—you risk coming to care a good deal about the young Pharaoh’s fate. . . . We can be grateful to Dr. Brier for showing that even a mystery dating to the fourteenth century B.C. is subject to engrossing examination.”—The New York Times

INCLUDES 16 PAGES OF PHOTOS
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