An engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power.Hatshepsut--the daughter of a general who usurped Egypt's throne--was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father's family. Read more...
An engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power.Hatshepsut--the daughter of a general who usurped Egypt's throne--was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father's family. Her failure to produce a male heir, however, paved the way for her improbable rule as a cross-dressing king. At just over twenty, Hatshepsut out-maneuvered the mother of Thutmose III, the infant king, for a seat on the throne, and ascended to the rank of pharaoh.
Shrewdly operating the levers of power to emerge as Egypt's second female pharaoh, Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays in the veil of piety and sexual reinvention. She 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.
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.
- ISBN-13: 9780307956767
- ISBN-10: 0307956768
- Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (NY)
- Publish Date: October 2014
- Page Count: 298
- Dimensions: 9.85 x 6.56 x 1.12 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.24 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-08-04
- Reviewer: Staff
The life of Hatshepsut, Egypt’s second female pharaoh, was replete with opulent living, complex royal bloodlines, and sexual energy; in short, the kind of drama that fuels Ancient Egypt’s enduring appeal. What it lacked, however, was comprehensive documentation—something UCLA Egyptologist Cooney offers in a narrative biography supplemented by scholarly hypotheses that attempt to flesh out the uncertainties. Groomed for an important role as a high priestess from birth, Hatshepsut, through a combination of good fortune and ruthless strategy, “scaled the mountain to kingship.” Her role ostensibly “decreed by nothing less than a divine revelation” is shrouded in mystery by a limited historical record concerned too frequently with the “supernatural mechanisms of divine authority.” The high points; of this ambitious project are to be found in Cooney’s keen sense for the visual elements of Hatshepsut’s gender-defying rule and expert inferences on the psychologies of Hatshepsut and her contemporaries. From Hatshepsut’s self-perception, political prowess, and lifestyle emerge an image of the “ultimate working mother” and a compelling insight into ancient gender roles. However, Cooney’s work will likely appeal most to already well-informed armchair Egyptologists, as unfamiliar nomenclature and the speculative tone can make this a difficult text for the casual reader. Agent: Marc Gerald. (Oct.)