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1. Burke's Royal Families of the
2. African Princess: The Amazing
3. The Elizabethan Image of Africa
4. Olonana Ole Mbatian
5. I Remain, Sir, Your Obedient Servant
6. Memoirs of an Arabian Princess
7. Hannibal - The Greatest Commander
8. Epistolario de la Emperatriz María
9. Ancient Egypt
10. In the House of Muhammad Ali:
11. Yaa Asantewaa and the Asante-British
12. Nefertiti: Unlocking the Mystery
13. The Colour Bar: The Triumph of
14. Royal Murders
15. The Emperor
16. In Praise of Black Women, Volume
17. Cleopatra and Antony: Power, Love,

1. Burke's Royal Families of the World: Africa and the Middle East v. 2 (Burke's series) (Vol 2)
Hardcover: 320 Pages (1980-01-01)
-- used & new: US$37.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0850110297
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Brimming with a splendid assortment of extraordinary facts, unexpected connections, interesting and frequently hilarious anecdotes. It is rich in human character and indeed tells us far more about history than those who have a blinkered prejudice against 'genealogy' may realise. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Much better than the Burke's average
Intended as a companion volume to _Burke's Guide to the Royal Family,_ this product of the "new Burke's" follows the familiar indented-outline format and is very easy to use. The early history of each House is only summarized, but is complete from the sixteenth century or so. Families that are "temporarily out of business" make up the bulk of the book, including portraits of the current pretenders (up to c.1980, anyway). Much readable anecdotal material, and the Introduction has some salty comments on the observed results of replacing hereditary monarchy with "mob democracy." An excellent and trustworthy source for ready-reference.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Excellent Book set
This is one of the finest research book set available. All the world's royal families are at your fingertips. Includes photographs & geneological tables. Highly recommended. Please look at this book. ... Read more

2. African Princess: The Amazing Lives of Africa's Royal Women: African Princess
by Joyce Hansen
Hardcover: 48 Pages (2004-09-01)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$9.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786851163
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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What was it like to live as a queen in ancient Egypt, or as an Amazon warrior in western Africa? African Princess tells the stories of six remarkable royal women and the eras in which they lived, from 1473 B.C. to the present. Some lived in great luxury; others lived in exile as freedom fighters. The rise of the slave trade and the arrival of European colonists unsettled the entire continent and forced rulers to find ways to govern and protect their kingdoms. Consequently, many of these royal women ruled in extremely difficult times, marked by palace intrigue, foreign invasion, and harrowing adventure. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars African Princess:Tje Amazing Lives of Africa's Royal Women
This is a book that all African American women should own.It gives a sense of pride to know where we come from.I applaud the author.Thank You.

5-0 out of 5 stars African Princess
I like african princess because it tells adventurous true stories.And woman who had great courage and great symblos for woman.In Ethiopia when you are 10 years old you get married and are trained to do elderly things.The Portugues and Ugandans were in a slave trade.The Portuguess wer in the slave trade to recieve slave trade, and Ugandas would get weapons.All of these stories I mentioned were great and they tell you African history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Discovery
I discovered African Princess: the Amazing Lives of Africa's Royal Women while searching for history about African Royalty, and it is most excellent. The artwork is gorgeous and the text is simple enough for my 8 year old niece to read it and understand it. Rich history, intriguing stories, and pride in our history make this book great for all generations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Women of beauty, strength, and power!
Six examples of African feminine royalty are showcased in chronological order, from pre-Christian times to the modern era.Each of the women focused was representative of her time, yet she showed a foresight and independence that made her stand out from her contemporaries.

The text by former schoolteacher Joyce Hansen, along with Laurie McGraw's superb illustrations, makes for a captivating and inspiring read for youngsters, female and male.It also should be noted that the book should be shared with all children for there still remains some misconceptions in the general public about Africa, even to this day.

The book does a good job of addressing and correcting those misconceptions in a highly professional and insightful manner.

5-0 out of 5 stars Uses words and pictures to recreate the lives
From a female pharaoh in ancient Egypt to an African princess of her people who avoided men, and an empress, African Princess uses words and pictures to recreate the lives of six selected powerful royal women of Africa. Good reading skills in grades 2-4 will lend to an appreciation of early female African leaders.
... Read more

3. The Elizabethan Image of Africa
by Eldred D. Jones
 Paperback: 52 Pages (1971-06)
list price: US$4.95
Isbn: 0918016274
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4. Olonana Ole Mbatian
by Peter Ndege
Paperback: 120 Pages (2004-01-01)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9966250948
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Editorial Review

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Olonana ole Mbatian, popularly known as Lenana, was one of the mostoutstanding Masai and Kenyan leaders, African chief and Laibon(prophet/visionary), whose life spanned the second half of the nineteenth,and the first decade of the twentieth centuries. He lived through andinfluenced a crucial period in Kenya's history: when the Masai wereengaged in nation building, there was competition for leadership, land,people, livestock, wealth and power; and when European intrusions, whichwere becoming ever more intensive, were shaping Kenya's colonial cultureand economy. This is a balanced and critical study of an individual'sbiography, and historical context. It analyses for example to what extentOlonana's relationship with the colonialists influenced colonial policy onpastoralism; the devastating effects of colonial policy on pastoralism;and why the Masai shunned westernism, education and trade in favour oftraditional pastoralism, and the position of Olonana on these issues. Itconsiders popular perceptions of Olonana as a champion of Masai culturalheritage; and assesses his achievements and legacy. This is a concisebiography of a key figure in Masai history, about whom little has beenwritten, which serves well as a general introduction to the history andkey figures of the period. ... Read more

5. I Remain, Sir, Your Obedient Servant
by Omo N'Oba Erediauwa, Erediauwa
 Paperback: 354 Pages (2004-10-30)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$48.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9780293825
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6. Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar
by Emily Ruete Sayyida Prin. of Zanzibar
Paperback: 288 Pages (2009-05-21)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$6.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486471217
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This autobiography offers a rare inside look at the society surrounding a sultan's palace. Its author, a real-life princess in exile, recalls her vanished world of harems, slave trading, and court intrigues. The Midwest Book Review praised this book as "an engrossing memoir, offering a vivid portrait of 19th-century Arab and African life."
... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Zanzibar
This is the classic account of life inside the family of an Arab ruler on the island of Zanzibar in the mid-19th century.If the topic interests you, there is nothing else equal to it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great inside look at history
While a little biassed and one-sided, this book gives a great insight into the pampered life of a princess of Zanzibar, tempered by her marriage outside the "circle" and the poor treatment she received as a result. Most interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book
This book is written by Emily Ruete (formerly, Syiida Salma) who was the daughter of the most influential rulers of Oman and Zanzibar of all times. It was originally written in German and then translated into English and Arabic.
This book is excellent for the kind of readers who are fascinated by history and, Arab and Islam culture. Although the title suggests the author's autobiography, the book goes further to give a clear image on the political aspects and social life of the island of Zanzibar.
I am glad that she had some financial hardships that forced her to write such a book to sell it. It has delivered so much information about Zanzibar that we wouldn't know.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
This book contains the memoirs of Emily (Sayyida) Ruete, a Nineteenth Century Arabian princess.It is a fascinating tale of childhood and living conditions within the harem in Nineteenth Century Zanzibar.The book is unique in that Sayyida was one of the very few princesses who learned to write, hence other princesses were not able to record their experiences.It is refreshing to read an insider's report of harem life rather than the strange misinterpretations of short-term foreign visitors.The book also contains firsthand accounts of political intrigue, which will be of interest to students of Zanzibari or Omani history.

4-0 out of 5 stars Description of Life in Zanzibar in 1800's
"Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar" by Emily Ruete(born Sayyida, Princess of Zanzibar) is a unique book, the onlyautobiography by a Zanzibari princess of the 19th century.

The author wasborn in Zanzibar in the mid-1800's.Long ruled by Omani Arabs, Zanzibarhad achieved hegemony on the coast of Eastern Africa and had grown rich onthe harvest of slaves and ivory from the continent and spices (especiallycloves) from Zanzibar island itself.They had spread their influence andSwahili language as far west as Kisangani on the Congo river (the settingfor V.S. Naipaul's "A Bend in the River").Times were changing:European traders and missionaries were the harbingers of colonization forthe continent, protectorate status for Zanzibar, and the crusade againstthe Eastern slave trade.

Sayyida eloped with a German and had to leaveZanzibar.She moved to Germany where she was eventually widowed and alone(her Islamic family in Zanzibar rejected her for marrying a EuropeanChristian.)She wrote this book for her children, to provide them a recordof her history.In it she describes life in the Zanzibar royal palace andplantations: traditions, customs, palace intrigues and overthrows, theharem, slaves, festivals, manners, the status of women, and so forth.Shecompares her life in Europe to her life in Zanzibar.This book should beof value to anyone interested in Zanzibar or Eastern Africa, or Arab,Islamic, or Women's studies.

Please see my other reviews of books aboutAfrica. ... Read more

7. Hannibal - The Greatest Commander in Ancient History
by Jacob Abbott
Kindle Edition: Pages (2008-05-23)
list price: US$0.99
Asin: B001A55JGY
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Hannibalwas a Carthaginian military commander and tactician,who is often credited as one of the greatest and most intelligent commanders in history. His most famous achievement was at the outbreak of the Second Punic War, when he marched an army, which included war elephants, from Spain over the Pyrenees and the Alps into northern Italy.

[Kindle] ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and easy reader, but maps are missing in Kindle version
Interesting book about Hannibal's life during after the Punic wars. The book is an 'easy reader' and doesn't go too much into details, but a good overview of history. Although I enjoyed the book, the reason for giving it 3 stars is that the illustrations and maps are missing in the Kindle version. Maps are a must, to understand where cities and countries were during that time, in particular since names have changed in history.

4-0 out of 5 stars Jacob Abbott's version of Hannibal
In the mid-19th century, Jacob Abbott (1803-1879) wrote a series of biographies as an introduction to famous men and women in history such as Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, etc.. ostensibly for children, but also appealing to adults. His books do one thing very well, and that is tell a dramatic story in a compelling narrative. His biography of Hannibal is factually accurate in terms of the events, based as it is on ancient texts like that by Livy, it is comparable to Gibbon in style, though not nearly as detailed. Modern critics will rightly point to Abbott's antiquated Victorian-era morality lessons, but I think it provides a certain warm grandfatherly charm, and unintended humor. In any case it's easy to overlook Abbott's occasional commentary for the sake of the narrative of events.

Hannibal focuses on the Second Punic War, the one in which Hannibal famously crossed the Alps with war elephants. The First and Third Punic War are covered in the first and last chapter by way of summary. This account is mostly a biography of Hannibal and so skims over other famous scenes and characters, but Hannibal was the Napoleon/Alexander of his day and thus the central figure of the Punic Wars. If you've only heard of Hannibal and want to know why he is so famous without reading Livy or a longer book this is a great way to go. Although there are some better modern books of this type, like by Harold Lamb and others, this one is freely available online from a number of sources and has an audio version. The LibriVox recording is well done, see also the map and engravings in the original book on Internet Archive. The Kindle edition is a convienent way to access it as well. ... Read more

8. Epistolario de la Emperatriz María de Austria (Spanish Edition)
by Varios Varios
Paperback: 312 Pages (2009-03-26)
list price: US$26.64 -- used & new: US$22.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 8489995761
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Al hilo de la correspondencia de la Emperatriz María de Austria, conservada en el Archivo Ducal de la Casa de Alba, se realiza un reconocido histórico por la Europa del siglo XVI. ... Read more

9. Ancient Egypt
by George Rawlinson, Arthur Gilman
Kindle Edition: Pages (2008-06-02)
list price: US$2.99
Asin: B001AMB2CM
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Product Description
Egypt is famous for its ancient civilization and some of the world's most famous monuments, including the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx. The southern city of Luxor contains numerous ancient artifacts, such as the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings. Egypt is widely regarded as an important political and cultural nation of the Middle East. This book covers the history culture, people, military and religion of ancient Egypt. ... Read more

10. In the House of Muhammad Ali: A Family Album, 1805-1952
by Hassan Hassan
Hardcover: 160 Pages (2000-10-01)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$33.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9774245547
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This remarkable memoir written by Prince Hassan Hassan (1924-2000), a junior member of the former royal family, is a charming and evocative account of a time and social class before 1952 that no longer exists. Fascinating insights are chronicled not only of the rulers, from Muhammad Ali to King Farouk, but also of royal wives, cousins, aunts, uncles and their associates. 75 black and white illustrations ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars History of pre-1952 modern Egypt from a different viewpoint
Prince Hassan Aziz Hassan (1923--2000) was the grandnephew of King Farouk's father (his grandmother was King Fuad's youngest sister). After the military coup that deposed the 150 year old Egyptian monarchy, almost all ex-royals chose to leave the country. Prince Hassan was amongst the very few who chose to stay, and after his elder brother Ismail commited suicide in 1961 (out of despair at what became of his living conditions), Prince Hassan became the eldest male descendent of Muhammad Ali who still lived in Egypt.

The book is a very subtle and poetic description of the lives of the Egyptian royals pre-1952, with particular emphasis on the art and architecture of their dwellings. Prince Hassan was a noted painter (whose work was banned from public exhibitions by the Egyptian government) and that shows in his strikingly subtle, almost Proustian prose.

You will not find any gossip in this book and hardly any references to a life that was full of hardships (his father died when he was 1 year old and he was taken away from his Spanish mother at the age of 8 since, as a foreigner, she was deemed unqualified to raise an Egyptian prince).

Prince Hassan was a very special man. Search for his obituaries on the web.

5-0 out of 5 stars New Perspective
Published soon after Prince Hassan's death, this entertaining collection of personal memories and family reminisces gives shape to an often misunderstood and much maligned period of Egyptian history and its ruling family.

Told in a chatty, familiar - almost gossipy - style with plenty of black and white photographs, this work provides insight into a past of privilege that survives today in the memory of a select few.Suprisingly, little information is available about a royal familty that was once counted among the wealthiest in the world.

It is the trend in current Egyptian literature to shun recording anything remotely positive about the Muhammed Ali family.However, their accomplishments and failures did help to shape this ancient country that still struggles for its own identity today.It is an important - informal - look at a period in history through a different perspective.

A note to potential travelers to Egypt.With patience, one can still visit some of the royal palaces Prince Hassan mentions, although in a neglected state or converted into modern hotels.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fresh Perspective
Published soon after Prince Hassan’s death, this entertaining collection of personal memories and family reminisces gives shape to an often misunderstood and much maligned period of Egyptian history and its ruling family.

Told in a chatty, familiar - almost gossipy - style with plenty of black and white photographs, this work provides insight into a past of privilege that survives today in the memory of a select few.Surprisingly little information is available about a royal family that was counted among the wealthiest in the world.

It is the trend for current Egyptian literature to shun recording anything remotely positive about the Muhammad Ali family. However, their accomplishments and failures did help to shape this ancient country that still struggles for its own identity today.It is an important look at a period in history through a different perspective.

A note to potential travelers to Egypt.With patience, one can still visit some of the royal palaces, in a neglected state open to tourists, or a few good hotels. ... Read more

11. Yaa Asantewaa and the Asante-British War of 1900-1
by A.Adu Boahen
Paperback: 182 Pages (2003-11-20)
list price: US$11.99 -- used & new: US$37.83
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0852554435
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The Asante-British War of 1900-01 is known outside Ghana as the war of the 'Golden Stool'. In Ghana it is known as the Yaa Asantewaa War, after the Queen of Edweso who was its principal inspiration. But while her leadership has been acknowledged in the scholarly literature, up to now her precise role in the war has been unexamined. The eminent Ghanaian historian, A. Adu Boahen, remedies this oversight in this account written for the centenary of the war. With their king and many leading chiefs already in exile, the Asante faced a new crisis in 1900 with the British Governor's demands for additional tribute and the symbolic Golden Stool. It was Nana Yaa Asantewaa who rallied Asante resistance with 'her fiery and provocative speeches and gender-conscious challenges'. A. ADU BOAHEN was Professor Emeritus of History, University of Ghana (Legon), fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts & SciencesNorth America: Michigan State University Press; Ghana: Sub-Saharan Publishers ... Read more

12. Nefertiti: Unlocking the Mystery Surrounding Egypt's Most Famous and Beautiful Queen
by Joyce A. Tyldesley
Paperback: 272 Pages (2000-02-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$3.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140258205
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The first full-scale biography of one of the most mysterious, powerful, and beautiful women of the ancient world.

In the tradition of her intriguing Hatchepsut, Joyce Tyldesley rescues another female ruler from the shadows of history: Queen Nefertiti (c. 1350 b.c.). We know her from the exquisite painted bust in the Berlin Museum, discovered in 1912, which has made her ancient Egypt's most recognizable queen. Until now, however, her contributions to Egyptian society have remained largely neglected. Wife of Akhenaten, the monotheistic pharaoh, adored by her family, and worshiped by her people, Nefertiti suddenly vanished from the historical record. Was she exiled by her husband or promoted to rule alongside him as an equal? Tyldesley synthesizes archaeological, textual, and artistic evidence to re-create the dazzling court at Amarna and its captivating and influential queen.Amazon.com Review
She was the beloved wife of "heretic king" Akhenaton, whodefied ancient custom by practicing monotheism and by elevatingNefertiti far above the role of subservient consort previously playedby Egyptian queens. Her image has ravished Western viewers ever sincea magnificent limestone bust unearthed at the royal retreat of Amarnawent on display in Berlin in 1924. But frustratingly few facts areknown about this woman who lived more than three millennia ago. As shedid in Hatchepsut: TheFemale Pharaoh, British archeologist Joyce Tyldesley makes avirtue of necessity by writing a book that is as much a culturalhistory as a biography. As Akhenaton swept away the plethora of oldgods, dismaying many of his subjects, he needed a strong female figureto soften the abstract austerity of Aten, the sun deity; his beautifulqueen was celebrated in official art and inscriptions that focused onthe domestic life of the royal family. Tyldesley meticulously analyzesthis iconography to evaluate Nefertiti's position in Egypt and herimportance to her husband, who clearly cherished her beyond thedemands of propriety or political necessity. The author cannot givereaders a strong sense of Nefertiti's personality--the evidence simplyisn't there--but she paints a wonderfully evocative picture of life atthe civilized heart of the ancient world. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent source for information on Nefertiti
Nefertiti is unquestionably one of the most fascinating and mysterious women of the ancient world. As of today, we are unable to pinpoint where she came from and exactly what role she played in her husband Akhenaten's court. Joyce Tyldesley provides an engaging and completely readable portrait of who Nefertiti could have possibly been.

Nefertiti married Pharaoh Akhenaten, the pharaoh who shocked ancient Egypt by overthrowing the god, Amen and replacing him with an obscure cult god, Aten. Akhenaten's decision was unpopular. Soon after his death Egypt returned to worshipping Amen and everyone associated with Akhenaten's court and religion was called a heretic.

Unfortunately for us, Akhenaten and Nefertiti were almost but erased from history. Their mummified remains have never been found. Although speculation about recently discovered mummies being that of the royal couple have been around for decades.

Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen presents the information available in an attempt to uncover who Nefertiti was, how she died, and what role she played in court. This information comes in bits and pieces from recent discoveries in the ancient capitol of Amarna

The book discusses whether Nefertiti could have been of royal blood. Perhaps a princess from Mittani? However, the author questions her own theory due to the lack fo title in Nefertiti's name. Nefertiti is an Egyptian name. The author also believes Nefertiti could have possibly been sent to Egypt as a bride intended for Amenhotep III, but later married to Akhenaten.

The question of how Nefertiti died is discussed in detail. There are no primary sources available to describe when or how she died. We assume she died when her name disappeared from royal documents. However, there is evidence she may have changed her name. The author also discusses the possibilty of Nefertiti ruling as co-regent with Akhenaten and later ruling alone after his death.

Nefertiti: The Sun Queen won't answer all questions about this mysterious queen from Egypt's ancient past, but it does present all the information available that her contemporaries failed to erase from history. Required reading for anyone interested in Nefertiti!

3-0 out of 5 stars Not really about Nefertiti
The full title of this book is "Nefertiti: Unlocking the mystery surrounding Egypt's most famous and beautiful queen".

The title is obviously a commercial ploy. This is not a sensationalist book claiming to uncover uncanny Egyptian mysteries. Nor is it about Nefertiti. Not really.

"Nefertiti" is actually about the Amarna period in Egyptian history, a short period during which ancient Egypt was ruled by the heretical pharaoh Akhenaten. We don't know as much about this period as we would like to, and we certainly don't know much about Nefertiti, Akhenaten's queen and wife. Most of the book is about Akhenaten or the Amarna period in general, not specifically about Nefertiti.

Joyce Tyldesley's book is "scholarly", in the sense of being moderately boring. Often, it sounds like a college textbook in archaeology. It never really thrills the reader. It's not bad if you are a budding student of Egyptology, but the general public might get disappointed.

After all, "Nefertiti" never unlocks the mystery surrounding Egypt's most famous and beautiful queen...

5-0 out of 5 stars Nefertiti
I absolutely loved reading this book. I found her life very interesting and learned alot that I didn't know.

4-0 out of 5 stars The beautiful one has come
Joyce Tyldesley's book, `Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen' is a good study of an important queen in the Egyptian history.

Akhenaton was a pharoah who renounced the worship of old gods in favour of single God worship based upon a sun-worship (Aton). Nefertiti was perhaps the most influential person on Akhenaten, at that time one of the most powerful rulers on earth. Very little is known of Nefertiti, mainly because her death is not recorded, her name has been erased from many places and her tomb has recently been found, with her mummy in a mutilated state. Nefartiti's beauty is world famous from the masks found at Amarna, Esypt's capital during Akhenaten and Nefartiti's rule.
Joyce Tyldesley presents various theories of Nefertiti's life and death side by side with evidence. Alas, the support is difficult no matter which interpretation is preferred -- Amarna was abandoned shortly after the death of Akhenaten, and the old religious ways reinstituted.
It is sad. Inspite of being one of the most beautiful queen, and being the wife of one of the most powerful kings of ancient Egypt, not much is known about Nefariti. All attempts were made to erase their names from everywhere after their deaths. In traditional Egyptian theology, for the spirit to live forever, the person's name, body, or image must survive. By erasing the names, images, and by mutilating the bodies, the Egyptians officials tried best to destroy the spirit of these people.

I love to read about the Indian and Egyptian history and this book definitely gives more insights into the life of Nefartiti, which means 'The beautiful one has come'.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but Misleading
I enjoyed this book quite a bit, but not for what it is advertised for and labeled as. This is a great book about the Amarna period during the 18th Dynasty, a period for which little information is available. I learned a lot about the religious changes made by Akhenaten (Nefertiti's husband) and a lot about the Pharoh himself.

However, there is very little information in this book about Nefertiti herself, probably less the one quarter of it is spent on the queen. So while I liked the book and learned a great deal from it, I feel that the title is misleading at best and at worst a ploy to make it more saleable by the author. After all, everyone has heard about Nefertiti, but few have heard about Akhenaten and the Amarna period. ... Read more

13. The Colour Bar: The Triumph of Seretse Kama and His Nation
by Susan Williams
Paperback: 432 Pages (2008-02-13)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$9.22
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0141026138
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Sir Seretse Khama, the first President of Botswana and heir apparent to the kingship of the Bangwato people, brought independence and great prosperity to his nation after colonial rule. But for six long years from 1950, Seretse had been forced into exile in England, banned from his own country. His crime? To fall in love and marry a young, white English girl, Ruth Williams. Delving into newly released records, Susan Williams tells Seretse and Ruth's story - a shocking account of how the British Government conspired with apartheid South Africa to prevent the mixed-race royal couple returning home. But it is also an inspiring, triumphant tale of hope, courage and true love as with tenacity and great dignity Seretse and Ruth and the Bangwato people ovecome prejudice in their fight for justice. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book for anyone interested in Botswana politics and a true life love story
This is a good book, a quick and easy read, and an insightful story of African politics in the name of colonialism.This books should give anyone who reads it a real sense of hope and confidence about the people of Botswana.

5-0 out of 5 stars The personal is political
Susan Williams' The Colour Bar tells both a love story and a political history. When Seretse Khama, the hereditary "kgosi" or king of one of the Tswana tribes of the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland, married Ruth Williams, a British woman he met while in school in England, it set off a scramble among the leaders of apartheid South Africa and of Rhodesia as well as Britain, to exile and depose him. It would be untenable to have a mixed race couple living among and influencing the people between these very racially segregated and oppressive societies. The lengths to which the British government went to exile Seretse Khama and to hide its reasons for so doing, as well as the responses of the Khamas and of the people of what would become the Republic of Botswana, makes spell-binding reading. I intended to use this for my bus commute read, but once I started it, I couldn't put it down and devoted a weekend to finishing it up. Highly recommended for history buffs or people interested in getting a very different view of an African republic. This one is at least a partial cure for U.S. tunnel vision.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!
I would highly recommend this book. I would go so far as to say it should be required reading in schools. Children need to know how things were to appreciate the world today. Today's world is not perfect but at least things are better.

I was appalled at the attitude of the British government and its treatment of Seretse and Ruth Kharma.

Susan Williams did a splendid job of writing and a thanks must go to all the people who helped in the research. It was considerable.

I found the book so interesting I could hardly put it down. Only when the attitude of others was so poor did I take a break.

I would have liked more detail about the private lives of the Kharmas, more about the children etc though I realize the subject was the colour bar and more their public lives.

Today there is not a colour bar as such. Racism is more subtle. If only people could remember we are all God's children.

I would like to close with a quote from his, "I have a dream" speech by Martin Luther King Jr., "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character."

To all Amazon's readers. Look in to your hearts.

... Read more

14. Royal Murders
by Dulcie M. Ashdo
Paperback: 272 Pages (2000-03-25)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$41.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 075092439X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Spanning more than a thousand years of European history, this work looks at the motives, means and consequences of the murders of - and sometimes by - members of Europe's ruling families. In early centuries murder was usually a "family matter", the result of warring factions fighting for real power. Richard II's throne was usurped by his cousin Henry Bolingbroke, a dramatic coup famously recreated in Shakespeare's play, as was the usurpation of Macbeth. In the sixteenth century monarchs fell victim to religious fanatics or were the subject of witchcraft - King James had a coven of witches convicted for raising storms at sea when he was on passage in 1589. In the seventeenth century "judicial murder" became part of a revolutionary process. Political motives dominated the Royal murders of the nineteenth century, among them the assassinations of Alexander II in Russia in 1881 and the Austrian Empress Elisabeth in 1898. In 1914 it was the assassination by a Slav nationalist at Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, which precipitated World War I. In the late twentieth century it is the lone madman who is most feared.A compendium of "who-dunnits", gruesome fellings, witchcraft, infanticide and assassinations that have changed the course of history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars `There is something in human nature that makes a murder story appealing to all sorts of people.'
This book spans more than a thousand years of history, examining the motives, means and consequences of murders of - and by - Europe's ruling families.There are all manner of murders here: from the possible involvement of Mary Queen of Scots in the death of Darnley to the murderous killings undertaken by Tsar Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible).There are murders that overthrew tyrants, ended dynasties and started wars.And how were these murders committed: swords and arrows, bombs and bullets, and poison.Witchcraft too, allegedly.The royal murderers have killed, often to gain (or retain) power.Consort queens have murdered their husbands, fathers their sons and sons their fathers.

The unifying theme of this book is murder or attempted murder of and by royalty, or those closely connected to royalty.It caught my attention, but didn't always keep it.I found snippets of information that I was previously unaware of, as well as some interpretations that I may not agree with.Despite the subject matter, I found this a comparatively light read, probably because I wanted more information about some of the individual cases than the book provided.Still, if you are interested in the lives and deaths of royalty, this book may well appeal.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

3-0 out of 5 stars Badly organized, but informative
This book contains a great number of anecdotes connecting royalty and murder, as victim and perpetrator.I found it very interesting, but at times, very difficult to follow.Until it resolved itself around the middle to be organized along a sort of time line, I couldn't figure out if it was sorted by country, family, or time.The author doesn't go into a great deal of detail in regards to each crime, so if you want an interesting overview of royals as murderers or victims, this book will suit your purposes well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning and most informative
Ms. Ashdown provided an interesting exposition of royal murders throughout the centuries and what was particularly pleasing about this book was the fact that she did not limit herself to British royalty but rather extended her analysis to Russian, Hungarian, French and Spanish monarchy. She wastruly original in her analysis, establishing various lines of review -killings by poison, magic, for political purposes,self-aggrandizement etc. She also showed how the reasons for royal murders have changed over thecenturies, reflecting in part the declining importance of royaltythroughout the world.After completing this book, I was much more informedabout this particular topic and I heartily recommend this to all.Ms.Ashdown's style is exciting, holding the reader's interest throughout. ... Read more

15. The Emperor
by Ryszard Kapuscinski
Paperback: 176 Pages (1989-03-13)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$7.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679722033
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Haile Selassie, King of Kings, Elect of God, Lion of Judah, His Most Puissant Majesty and Distinguished Highness the Emperor of Ethiopia, reigned from 1930 until he was overthrown by the army in 1974. While the fighting still raged, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Poland's leading foreign correspondent, traveled to Ethiopia to seek out and interview Selassie's servants and closest associates on how the Emperor had ruled and why he fell. This "sensitive, powerful. . .history" (The New York Review of Books) is Kapuscinski's rendition of their accounts—humorous, frightening, sad, groteque—of a man living amidst nearly unimaginable pomp and luxury while his people teetered netween hunger and starvation.Amazon.com Review
Haile Selassie, His Most Puissant Majesty and DistinguishedHighness the Emperor of Ethiopia, enjoyed a 44-year reign until hisown army gave him the boot in 1974. In the days following the coup,the Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski traveled to Ethiopia andsought out members of the imperial court for interviews.

His composite portrait of Selassie's crumbling imperium is anastonishing, wildly funny creation, beginning with the very firstinterview. "It was a small dog," recalls an anonymousfunctionary, "a Japanese breed. His name was Lulu. He was allowedto sleep in the Emperor's great bed. During various ceremonies, hewould run away from the Emperor's lap and pee on dignitaries'shoes. The august gentlemen were not allowed to flinch or make theslightest gesture when they felt their feet getting wet. I had to walkamong the dignitaries and wipe the urine from their shoes with a satincloth. This was my job for ten years." (Well, it's a living.)

Elsewhere, the interviewees venture into tragic or grotesque ordownright unbelievable terrain. Kapuscinski has shaped theirtestimonies into an eloquent whole, and while he never alludes to thetotalitarian regime that ruled his native Poland during the sameperiod, the analogy is impossible to ignore. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

4-0 out of 5 stars An inside look into the reign of Haile Selassie
Haile Selassie (1892-1975) served as the head of the Ethiopian government for nearly 60 years, first as regent and chief administrator under Empress Zewditu from 1916-1930, and then as Emperor, after he won a power struggle with Zewditu, from 1930-1974, when he was deposed by a committee of military leaders that slowly infiltrated and controlled the Selassie government.

Selassie was bestowed several dozen official titles by his people and other world leaders, and was widely referred to as "The King of Kings" and "The Lion of Judah" by his people. He was treated as a god by his subjects, as citizens and even his closest advisers did not dare to look him in the eye when addressing him.

Selassie was deeply religious, soft-spoken and introspective, but ruthless with those who opposed or questioned him. He commanded absolute power, and the advisers that were most loyal to him were rewarded handsomely, regardless of how competent they were. As a result, his court was dominated by yes men, who were only interested in self preservation and the attainment of personal wealth, and Selassie was shielded from the extreme poverty that plagued his people and resulted in millions of deaths in years of famine, which ultimately led to popular uprisings and his eventual overthrow.

The acclaimed travel writer Ryszard Kapuaeciñski interviewed several people who served in Selassie's court after the military takeover, to provide an insiders' view of this complicated man and the inner workings of his government. The book consists of the accounts of these men, who ranged from close advisers to petty servants, with occasional brief comments by Kapuaeciñski to provide a contextual background to these stories. The book covers two notable events, the failed coup in 1960 when Selassie attended a meeting in Brazil, and the successful overthrow in 1974, along with the events that led to it. We are also provided with the routine daily operations of the court, which were tightly structured and filled with hourly themed meetings, such as the Hour of the Cashbox, when officials would line up to request funding for projects, which they would use to line their own wallets, and the Hour of the Ministers, which was supposedly dedicated to Imperial matters but became another opportunity for Selassie's trusted advisers to receive favors. The author does not judge or criticize Selassie or his advisers, which makes this a more effective, damning and compelling account of the corruption and depravity of this revered leader.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Minor Classic
Why is this book so famous? Regarded by many as a classic of journalism, this piece of literary journalism seems terribly slight to me. Updike is quoted on the cover as finding the piece poetic, which it is, I suppose, but poetry is not journalism, and I am suspicious of poetic journalism which seems to be more about style than about substance. Nothing here is substantiated. Did interviews actually take place? Did the author visit Ethiopia or write this from his Soho loft? Who knows? Is is fun to read in some sense; clearly, whether factual or literary, the world of the Lion of Judah has a wonderfully unreal Wizard of Oz feel to it. At the same time, the Kafkaesque world is something like Edwardian England or pre-revolutionary Russia - that is, it is very yesterday and therefore takes on a never-never land feel. The fact is that a visit to Roosevelt's house in Hyde Park, New York reveals a world as eccentric and bizarre to the modern world as that of Haile Selassie. Stories of Churchill running around the mansion in the buff, puffing on a cigar, with FDR crawling on the floor preparing for fire, has the same sort of surreal "great men" exposed cast to it as this book.Why we take these men seriously but not African despots is a worthy subject of study. Evelyn Waugh was one of the first to find everything in the third world worthy of a belly laugh; this book adds to the genre of exotic "wogs" and their "oriental" eccentricities. It is a terrible repetitious book; as in an episode of "Dallas," we see the life of his inner court, but are left totally ignorant of the life lived by the people. One senses that the full story has not been told.

5-0 out of 5 stars a historical account of the deposition of Haile Selassie
the author is a Polish foreign correspondent who traveled to Ethiopia in 1984. He interviewed members of the imperial circle who had gone into hiding, and described the infighting among the Emperor, other informants and aristocrats as their world crumbled. In the end, having rejected a constitutional monarchy, the old ruler was alone in the palace with one servant.
When this was published in Poland, many readers saw in it an allegory of dictatorship, and the story was adapted for the stage.

4-0 out of 5 stars Insight into a thankfully lost world
To most Westerners as well as deluded Rastafarians, Haile Selassie was a humane, gentle, enlightened leader of an unfortunate nation. To those close to him, he was an iron-fisted despot, who surrounded himself with second rate officials readily pitched against each other, who tolerated and positively encouraged corruption; he was the emperor who salted hundreds of millions of dollars into overseas bank accounts while many millions of 'unworthy scrags' in his own domain starved to death.

This book is a collection of first hand accounts, well actually third hand as they have passed from Amharic to Polish and finally to English, from the people who surrounded the Emperor in the dying days of the autocracy.

Some of the accounts are barely credible when judged by today's standards, while others display that delightful African balancing act between naivete and hilarious irony. For example the official who condemned the foreign press for suggesting that Selassie had salted away up to four billion dollars. Preposterous! And in any case it was no more than a few hundred million!

Sadly the only participant we could not hear from is the Emperor himself, what a joy it would be to get an honest commentary from the one who fought so hard to maintain a 3000-year oppression. Who sought development only to find himself at the mercy of foreign patrons who insisted on bringing modern ideas of human rights into his domain, and in the process ending it.

A brilliant book!

5-0 out of 5 stars An ethnography of power
The Emperor by Kapuscinski is a strongly compelling piece of literature based on modified interviews with a number of court staff and servants who observed first-hand the power structure Haile Selassie maintained at the height of his power and his subsequent downfall during a military overthrow in 1974.

Ryszard Kapuscinski, a Polish journalist and writer, kept two note books. One was for journalistic purposes and the other was for more ethnographic purposes that would serve as primary source material for his literary works. The Emperor falls into the category of literature since it is a collection of the recollections of persons who were observers to the power structure established by Selassie. These condensed and edited interviews are interspersed with short summary statements by Kapuscinski. Thus the work resonates with such works as In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

There are several incidents reported in the book from various sources that contradict each other or seem like exaggerations. One of these is the story of how Selassie walked in the zoo every day, feeding wild beasts with choice meat, while various ministers jumped from behind trees to encounter Selassie and to give him briefs on various government ministries. Another story is how a little pet dog would pee on the shoes of court officials who were required to show no emotion while a servant dried off their shoes with a towel. The best example of contradiction is whether Haile Selassie could read and write. Early in the book we hear from court staff that policies and reports are read to Selassie and that he is never seen reading a report or signing a document. This leads the observer to assume that Haile Selassie can not read or write. Yet later in the book the single house servant left to Selassie by the military revolutionary government, a valet, tells of Selassie reading diligently every morning after he returns from Mass.This is the strength of building a narrative from multiple perspectives over time. The richness of the events from various observers comes together to draw a picture of the man and the events around his downfall. Some of the sources contradict each other, which is a good thing, since it reminds us continually that we are reading subjective memories of servants that are often old memories which have been eroded or enhanced. But from these fragments emerges an impressive work of literature that plots the maintenance of power and the disintegration and disorientation that surrounds the loss of power or the shift in a power base during a revolution.

During his reign Selassie used several time proven techniques for maintaining power. These include establishing a monopoly on information so that only the Emperor had the full picture of many issues. He also fostered competition and paranoia among his immediate subordinates so that they would spy on each other and report on each other. This allows him to maintain control and suppress any growing discontent among the powerful elites. The weakness of these strategies is that the reports of elites are highly selective and Haile Selassie badly underestimated the impact of a national famine on the world's impression of his leadership. Many of the elites saw famine as a simple fact of life for the poor and did not connect it to concentration of resources in the hands of a few elites. Likewise, the revolution came not from his splintered elites but from educated, middle class, military officers who were extremely wise in dismantling Selassie's government while claiming loyalty to the end to maintain public opinion never shifted against the revolution.

This is a thoughtful book, reflecting many truths about maintenance and loss of power from a broad range of subjective observers.
... Read more

16. In Praise of Black Women, Volume 1: Ancient African Queens
by Simone Schwarz-Bart, Rose-Myriam Rejouis, Val Vinokurov, Stephanie K. Daval
Hardcover: 448 Pages (2001-10-01)
list price: US$60.00 -- used & new: US$40.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0299172503
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A magnificently illustrated tribute to black womenin art and story. In Praise of Black Women is a magnificent tribute to women in Africa and the African diaspora from the ancient past to the present. Lavishly illustrated, with text written and selected by the celebrated Guadeloupian novelist Simone Schwarz-Bart, this four-volume series celebrates remarkable women who distinguished themselves in their time and shaped the course of culture and history.

Volume 1: Ancient African Queens weaves together oral tradition, folk legends and stories, songs and poems, historical accounts, and travelers' tales from Egypt to southern Africa, from prehistory to the nineteenth century. These women rulers, warriors, and heroines include Amanirenas, the queen of Kush who battled Roman armies and defeated them at Aswan; Daurama, mother of the seven Hausa kingdoms; Amina Kulibali, founder of the Gabu dynasty in Senegal; Ana de Sousa Nzinga, who resisted the Portuguese conquest of Angola; Beatrice Kimpa Vita, a Kongo prophet burned at the stake by Christian missionaries; Nanda, mother of the famous warrior-king Shaka Zulu; and many others. These extraordinary women's stories, narrated in the style of African oral tradition, are absorbing, informative, and accessible. The abundant illustrations, many of them rare archival images, depict the diversity among Black women and make this volume a unique treasure for every art lover, every school, and every family. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book
I think everyone of any ethnic background could appreciate this beautifully illustrated text. It has even given me some historical context for a book I'm writting. I love it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exciting Research
In Praise of Black Women is one of my alltime favorite books, beautifully illustrated and colorful, it does an excellent job at presenting ancestrial and legendary African women as leaders, smart, beautiful, sexy, brave, talented, spiritual, mystical, five dimensional...Every type is represented, from warrior to diplomat and everyone in between.Included, are the average everyday persons who performed extra-ordinary acts of faith and deeds.Purchasing this book new will set you back a bit, but it is worth every dollar...A home library staple and heirloom

5-0 out of 5 stars An African treasury
"In Praise of Black Women" is a gorgeously illustrated volume relating the lives of ancient African queens, rulers and warriors from pre-historic Africa through ancient Egypt up to the 19th century.Twenty-eight remarkable women are profiled here, all of whom had a lasting impact on their time.Here you will find Queen Tiye, the consort of Pharaoh Amenhotep III; Makeda, the legendary Queen of Sheba; Nandi, the mother of Shaka Zulu, and a host of other fascinating women.Superbly narrated by Simone Schwarz-Bart in the tradition of the oral historians of Africa, there are also historical sidebars on each page to bring the time and place into fuller perspective.This book is a magnificent tribute to the women of Africa and to all women of the African diaspora.

5-0 out of 5 stars You Owe It to Yourself to Read This Book!
In Praise of Black Women: Ancient African Queens is an astonishingly rich, gorgeous jewel box of information, artwork and the voices of women who changed the world interwoven with the words of "ordinary" women.This is a mission of true love and commitment--the work that went into it is evident on every page, and from that loving tribute flows the wonder of our Ancient African Queens and their inspring legacies.Everyone who is or knows or loves a Black woman will find this book a very rewarding read.

5-0 out of 5 stars In Praise of Black Women: Ancient African Queens
This is a beautiful book for all generations.The book is broken down into short stories. There is extensive use of pictures and historical diagrams which makes each story interesting for adults and children.This book provides the reader with a true sense of who these women were. It is a wonderful book for all families, especially those with young girls and teenagers.I wish all students and teachers had access to this book. This is not just for the African-American population. American children receive too much of their learning from "acceptable history" books and the movies, both which perpetuate an inaccurate picture of much of the rest of the world. I know this book opened my eyes and expanded my view of history. ... Read more

17. Cleopatra and Antony: Power, Love, and Politics in the Ancient World
by Diana Preston
Paperback: 352 Pages (2010-03-30)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$5.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 080271059X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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On a stiflingly hot day in August, 30 B.C., the thirty-nine-year-old Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, took her own life, rather than be paraded in chains through Rome by her conqueror, Octavian, the future emperor Augustus. A few days earlier, her lover of eleven years, Mark Antony, had died in her arms following his own botched suicide attempt. Oceans of mythology have grown up around them, all of which Diana Preston puts to rest in her stirring history of the lives and times of a couple whose names—more than two millennia later—still invoke passion, curiosity, and intrigue.

This book sets the romance and tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra's personal lives within the context of their political times. There are many contemporary resonances: the relationship between East and West and the nature of empire, the concealment of personal ambition beneath the watchword of liberty, documents forged, edited or disposed of, special relationships established, constitutional forms and legal niceties invoked when it suited. Indeed their lives and deaths had deep political ramifications, and they offer a revealing perspective on a tipping point in Roman politics and on the consolidation of the Roman Empire. Three hundred years would pass before the east would, with the rise of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, once again take a share of political power in the Mediterranean. In an intriguing postscript, Preston speculates on what might have happened had Antony and Cleopatra defeated Octavian at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.
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Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars An entertaining and enlightening recap of Roman History
I have read most of Diana Preston's books and this one ranks right up among her best. And who would have guessed it given the subject matter? Not her American publisher who either did not offer this in hardback or had so few copies it was no where to be found. Preston says she put Cleopatra's name first in the title because Cleopatra often gets send billing to Caesar and Mark Antony. But in fact the book is mostly about Roman Politics, culture, war making and hypocrisy and how Cleopatra leveraged personal power to save her country from being just another Roman colony. I am not a student of Roman history and found Preston's narrative to be both entertaining and enlightening. She comes up with so much detail and yet has a writing style that is minimalist and to the point in telling the story and explaining why the story is important to the history of the various participants. I found this to be mostly Rome's history with an emphasis on Egypt's impact on the Rome during the interesting times of these two major icons of the ages, Mark Antony and Cleopatra. If you're at all interested in the subject I highly recommend this book to you.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good history, but nothing new
Diana Preston's Cleopatra and Antony: Power, Love, and Politics in the Ancient World is a well-told history of this infamous couple. The best parts of the book are the rich descriptions of the luxuries of Cleopatra's court. The days of feasting and debauchery are mind-boggling, even by the standards of today's college students. In one scene, Cleopatra bets that she can throw a meal worth 10 million sesterces, and then achieves this by throwing one of her diamond earrings into the vinegar!

I wouldn't say there's anything particularly new or different about this book. In fact, it is really geared toward "popular" audiences (the first page even has a footnote that all dates are BC). If you're unfamiliar with the ancient world, this is a good book to start with. Preston gives a long and thorough "back history" of the Roman Republic and Ptolemaic Egypt. However, if you're a history buff, it might seem like there's too much general history, not enough detail about Antony and Cleopatra. For the latter audience, I suspect Adrian Goldsworthy's new Antony and Cleopatra would be a better bet.

5-0 out of 5 stars ARealistic Look at the Era of Cleopatra and Antony
I have read several books on this couple, some of them more fanciful than perhaps realistic and I thought Colleen McCullough had covered these people fairly well, but this book truly sets the politics, morals and interests of that era.Ms. Preston did extensive research which she documents very well in the Notes and Sources and probably has done the best arranging of the idiosyncrasies and personalities of the most influential movers and shakers of Rome during the last century A.D.Through her, Antony became a much more capable military man and politician than what he is usually portrayed, but also his appetite as a womanizer and heavy drinker and Cleopatra was more thoroughly shown to be the powerful head of state that she was.I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was a page turner for me and read as interestingly as non-fiction adventures. Although the reference to "Antony and Cleopatra" usually immediately reflects a tempestuous and passionate romance, Ms. Preston uses these two people as only a means to an end to set forth history in an honest and colorful narrative.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fine depiction of Cleopatra and Mark Antony
This is a well written and detailed work outlining the arc of the relationship between Roman leader Mark Antony and Egyptian queen Cleopatra. For those interested in this couple--and the context in which their relationship developed--will find this a good book to read.

The context for the Antony-Cleopatra liaison is well recorded. The civil wars in Rome, featuring leaders such as Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Crassus, Caesar, are well described, outlining the nasty internal turmoil roiling Rome and its expanding empire. So, too, the development of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt, beginning with one of Alexander the Great's commanders, running down to Cleopatra. Another story of intrigue, double-crossing, and civil war. Uneasy was the person in power--whether in Rome or in Egypt.

This work focuses on Cleopatra's survival in a treacherous context in Egypt, as well as her strategic cunning in figuring out how to survive and prosper. One of her first major coups was her conquering Julius Caesar himself and (probably) bearing him a son. He became her (and Egypt's) protector--until he was assassinated on the Ideas of March.

There followed in Rome a dance for power, among people such as Octavian (later, Augustus), Mark Antony, Cassius, Brutus, and Pompey's son, among others. Cleopatra developed a relationship with Mark Antony, as she tied herself to him. The slowly deteriorating partnership between Octavian and Antony, the battle for who would become the undisputed leader of Rom, and the last days of Cleopatra and Antony.A story well told. . . .

For those interested in Cleopatra and her daily double of liaisons with Caesar and Antony, this should be a good book. There is considerable speculation here, some of which may not be grounded (but the author is pretty careful in noting what we do know and what is assumption and inference).

5-0 out of 5 stars Cleopatra and Antony is a vibrantly accurate and well written account of the famous lovers of the ancient world
Toga drama galore in "Cleopatra and Antony" by noted Oxford educated history Diana Preston. In 300 pages the author separates the two famous lovers from myth and gives us a portrait of two powerful personalities.
Cleopatra was quite a dame! She was the last of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Greeks who had ruled Egypt since the death of Alexander the Great. She spoke seven languages, was well schooled and a good queen of Egypt for almost twenty years. Cleopatra was also a crafty political operative who quashed her younger brother's bid for power and was not adverse to killing opponents.
Cleopatra bore a child by Julius Caesar. The boy named Caesaron would be murdered by Octavian's soldiers.Following Caesar's assassination in 44 BC she fled to Egypt. It was in Tarsus she first met by Mark Antony. Antony was a Caesar supporter who helped in the elimination of his assassins including Brutus and Cassius. Antony was a notorious womanizer, drinker and doughty warrior whose courage was real. He comes across as an earthy man who truly loved Cleopatra despite affairs with other women. He had three children by Cleopatra. His rival for Roman dictatorship was Octavian the grandnephew and adopted son of Julius Caesar. Octavian became the first Emperor of Rome following his defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at the decisive sea battle of Actium in 31 BC.
Antony and Cleopatra chose suicide rather than capture and execution by the victorious Octavian. Antony died with a sword thrust; Cleopatra may have been bitten to death by an asp or cobra but her mode of death is unclear.
Preston's book not only details in clear and understandable prose the political affairs of the volatile first century but also opens the door to Egyptian and Roman customs from sexual practices to religious beliefs.
Diana Preston is not a specialist in the ancient world but writes for the educated general reader. Her book will both entertain and instruct the reader. An added bonus is the fascinating reconstruction of a bust showing what experts believed was Cleopatra's real life appearance. She was probably plump, hawk-nosed with an olive complexion. She died at only 39 years of age. ... Read more

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