Next book

CLEOPATRA

LAST QUEEN OF EGYPT

A satisfying blend of historical fact and strong, informed opinion about one of history’s most captivating figures.

A new biography of the Macedonian ruler attempts to debunk many myths surrounding her legacy.

Egyptologist Tyldesley (Egypt: How a Lost Civilization Was Rediscovered, 2006, etc.) digs deeply into Cleopatra’s life, piecing together a unique portrait of her successes and failures. In chronological fashion, the author covers the major historical issues surrounding Cleopatra, but she wisely avoids lingering too long on well-traveled ground. Tyldesley examines many of the burning questions that continue to puzzle historians—Was she black? Did she marry her brother? Was she beautiful or ugly?—and that have helped create such a beguiling picture of the queen. Many biographers focus too much on Cleopatra’s reputation as a temptress, but Tyldesley gamely analyzes her politically astute nature at work against the backdrop of the bloody, brutal times in which she operated. However, the author doesn’t shy away from discussing the many apocryphal tales that swirl around the Ptolemaic ruler: the queen smuggling herself in a roll of linen sheets (or, in more common myth, a carpet) in an attempt to reach Caesar; the presentation of Pompey’s severed and pickled head to Caesar as a gift, etc. The various stories about Cleopatra’s relationship with Antony are thoroughly dissected, and Tyldesley supplements these with a neat examination of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. The most absorbing passages concern her relationship with Antony and her subsequent demise, which are interspersed with (sometimes conflicting) quotations from fellow historians. Tyldesley also includes a welcome guide to the individual characters that Cleopatra encountered during the Ptolemaic period.

A satisfying blend of historical fact and strong, informed opinion about one of history’s most captivating figures.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-465-00940-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Basic Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2008

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 21


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Winner


  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

Next book

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 21


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Winner


  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Next book

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Close Quickview