She was the most formidable and successful woman to ever rule in the ancient Western world, and yet today few people can even pronounce her name.
Kara Cooney clearly has a passion for Ancient Egypt and especially for Hatshepsut, that is evident in this book. I realize now that as a reader who is looking to learn more about Ancient Egypt (and who is not passionate about it) that I might not have been a part of the target audience for this book.
Usually when I read a biography or a book on a topic in history I like to be able to read actual facts about that topic. With Ancient Egypt (and especially Hatshepsut) readers are left to rely on hypotheses based upon ancient artifacts that have been found. Having said that, this book contained a lot of conjecture not only on the details concerning Hatshepsut's reign but also concerning her motivations and emotions. I don't necessarily mind the conjecture concerning her reign, it was the conjecture about her motivation that I didn't like and felt was unnecessary. The attempt to really humanize Hatshepsut didn't work for me as there is little evidence of any person's motivations during those times.
In the middle of the book Cooney really starts to focus on Hatshepsut's reign as king and what she accomplished (instead of her motivation) and it was really quite interesting. There is no doubt that Hatshepsut was an important and powerful woman in the ancient world and this book really reinforces why we should all strive to learn more about her. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the galley.
Ugh...It is just taking me forever to get through this, and I had such high hopes for it. I admit that Hatshepsut is a very interesting woman that deserves to have her story told. She ruled Egypt as a woman when it was extremely unheard of. Unfortunately there is not much concrete knowledge of the details of her reign. That shows a lot in this book. This is filled with conjecture (which the author admits to right away). While the author uses knowledge gained from being an Egyptologist for many years, it is frustrating hearing mostly theories and not fact. Pretty much the words I am using to describe this so far are: Perhaps, Possibly, and Probably. Also the author tends to obsess about what Hatshepsut or other people were feeling or just random things about their daily life (like whether Thutmose III laughed a lot, or whether he didn't pay attention to his training to become King). With all the talk about feelings and motivations a historical fiction book could have been written instead.