Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff

First, Stacy Schiff's lucid, engaging biography of the misunderstood queen made us realize how little we knew about Cleopatra. Then we realized how glad we were that it was Schiff setting the record straight. The Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer's tone is authoritative, but she never slaps our wrists for our misconceptions (like when we thought Cleopatra was Egyptian instead of Greek); she just explains how we got them. Putting the innuendo, gossip and chauvinism of 2,000 years into proper perspective, Schiff delivers a portrait as shrewd and intriguing as the lady herself. We promise to never confuse Cleopatra with Liz Taylor again.