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Extended Audio Sample Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00006745135071 out of 53.00006745135071 out of 53.00006745135071 out of 53.00006745135071 out of 53.00006745135071 out of 5 3.00 (29,651 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stacy Schiff Narrator: Robin Mile Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer Stacy Schiff 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. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “In Cleopatra: A Life…Schiff strips away the accretions of myth that have built up around the Egyptian queen and plucks off the imaginative embroiderings of Shakespeare, Shaw and Elizabeth Taylor…In doing so, she gives us a cinematic portrait of a historical figure far more complex and compelling than any fictional creation, and a panoramic picture of her world…Schiff seems to have inhaled everything there is to know about Cleopatra and her times, and she uses her authoritative knowledge of the era—and her instinctive understanding of her central players—to assess shrewdly probable and possible motives and outcomes.”

    New York Times

  • “This is an astonishing, scrupulously researched, meticulously assembled retelling of one of the world’s most famous lives—and it will become a classic.” 

    Simon Winchester 

  • “It is a beautiful pairing—the most alluring and elusive woman in recorded history, and one of the most gifted biographers of our time. Style, like leadership, is difficult to define, but we know it when we see it. We see it here on every page.”

    Joseph J. Ellis

  • “Stacy Schiff’s meticulous research, the depth and deftness of her portrayal, have given us a Cleopatra far richer and more satisfying than the myths and fantasies that we have mistaken for true nourishment. This Cleopatra is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the history and lives of women.”

    Mary Gordon

  • “The most compelling biography of the year.”

    Liz Smith

  • “Successfully dissipating all the perfume, Schiff finds a remarkably complex woman—brutal and loving, dependent and independent, immensely strong but finally vulnerable.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2010 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
  • Selected for the November 2010 Indie Next List
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • One of the 2010 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books for Nonfiction
  • A 2010 Los Angeles Times Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2010 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Nonfiction
  • One of the 2010 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Patricia Bracewell | 2/17/2014

    " Schiff brings to life the wonders of Alexandria -- making real for the reader a world so fabulous it is difficult to grasp how it could have existed two millennia ago. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Teri L. | 2/8/2014

    " Loved it, and learned about ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Michael | 1/14/2014

    " A stunning biography of one of the world's most iconic, and unknown, women. Schiff helps sift through facts and fiction to craft an amazing life story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by David Mckinnon | 1/13/2014

    " This is less a biography of Cleopatra as it is a "biography" of her times. The book will disappoint those looking for the inside story of the lusty, notorious Queen of the Nile. But for those interested in Egypt and the glory that was hers, one need look no further. It was not quite what was expected, but it is a thoroughly satisfying read. "

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