Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Woman Who Would Be King Book Review


About the Book

An engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power in a man’s world.

Hatshepsut, the daughter of a general who took Egypt's throne without status as a king’s son and a mother with ties to the previous dynasty, was born into a privileged position of the royal household. Married to her brother, she was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her inconceivable rule as a cross-dressing king. At just twenty, Hatshepsut ascended to the rank of king in an elaborate coronation ceremony that set the tone for her spectacular twenty-two year reign as co-regent with Thutmose III, the infant king whose mother Hatshepsut out-maneuvered for a seat on the throne. Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays with the veil of piety and sexual expression. Just as women today face obstacles from a society that equates authority with masculinity, Hatshepsut had to shrewdly operate the levers of a patriarchal system to emerge as Egypt's second female pharaoh.

Hatshepsut had successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods. Scholars have long speculated as to why her images were destroyed within a few decades of her death, all but erasing evidence of her rule. Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power—and why she fell from public favor just as quickly. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power. (Goodreads)

My Review

I was really excited about this book because I know nothing about this time period or history. Hatshepsut is a name I have heard and read a little about but this book goes into a lot of detail on her upbringing, and how she ruled Egypt. I understand that we really don't know a lot from this time and history. I get that the author has to assume a few things, normal cultural traditions and such. I felt like a lot of this book repeatedly said, "she probably did this"  or we can assume that perhaps life might have been this way. So really we don't know a lot and I feel like it's a guessing game. It was very interesting reading about the cultural traditions and how they viewed many things. There is a lot of details about gods and what they believed in as well, which helped with understanding.  With her actual life I wish we knew more.

For this time period this book is a great resource and gives a glimpse into history.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for an honest review."

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