Cleopatra – Ernle Bradford

(Reviewed by Ishita RC)

    My fascination with Egyptian history      attracted me to this book and I am glad to  report that my choice didn’t disappoint me.  The name of the book pretty much says it.

Cleopatra is one of the most common names in the history books when it comes to Egyptian and Roman history. Usually her character has been described as a seductress who used her wiles for political aspirations. But sex hardly ever defines a person. This book is a clear representation of the same.

The Queen of the Nile has been brought to life through each chapter detailing the political life of the Egyptian and Roman empires. The author presents a depth to the famous character of Cleopatra with the help of a thorough use of ancient and modern historical resources. This manages to capture and maintain the interest of the reader throughout the book. Each chapter is well thought out and presented and that gives this book an extra edge.

If you think it is just about Cleopatra you are thoroughly mistaken. The entire book is a detailed narrative of political journey from the eyes of Egyptian and Roman history and clearly brings out how closely entwined both are.

Being a historical account, some of the language presented in Cleopatra is quite tough to understand and follow, which does make it a difficult read. However, I must applaud the author for his attempt to keep the book as simple as possible for readers of all genres. I feel though that a more pictorial illustration of the book would definitely bring not only color to the book, but also a change in the pace of reading. Having said that, I would recommend a use of a different image for the cover page since the complicated illustration contradicts the simplicity of the title.

That said, Cleopatra is a definite read for all historical fanatics out there.

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