Review: Cleopatra Rules by Vicky Alvear Shecter


Title: Cleopatra Rules!

Author: Vicky Alvear Shecter

Publisher: Boyds Mills Press

ISBN: 9781590787182


May Contain Spoilers

I have mentioned many times that I love books set in ancient times, and I find learning about how people lived thousands of years ago fascinating.  I mean, think about it!  There was no texting, instant messaging, or Skype.  No printing presses, antibiotics, or iPods.  No packages with the big smiley. Ugh!  The struggle to survive constant wars, diseases, and Mother Nature would have taken up most of everyone’s time, making me glad that I can sit in my air conditioned house and reflect on the past, instead of experiencing it first hand.  Cleopatra is an especially compelling historical figure, and one who I love reading about.

The problem with reading non-fiction accounts of the past is that they tend to be rather dry and not exactly engaging.  You can toss aside all of those boring biographies about Cleopatra, though, and grab this book instead.  Cleopatra Rules! examines the cunning Egyptian queen’s life, relaying her story in contemporary terms and through the use of photographs of relics from her time.  Ancient Roman and Egyptian cultural aspects are clearly explained, and the narrative zips along at a rapid clip.

While I love fictional accounts of the lives of ancient leaders, I am not always so fond of biographical works, especially for recreational reading.  Cleopatra Rules! follows Cleopatra’s victories and defeats in an entertaining and compelling way.  I painlessly learned all about her, Caesar, and Marc Anthony, and found myself caught up in the text.  The glossy pages, which featured many photos and cultural points of reference, made this an attractive book as well.  Politics of the day are covered in easy to understand terms, and Vicky Alvear Shecter’s narrative made this history lesson fun and memorable.  I wish she had written my Principals of Accounting text!

Grade: B

Review copy provided by the publisher

5 thoughts on “Review: Cleopatra Rules by Vicky Alvear Shecter

  • September 20, 2010 at 5:40 am

    When nonfiction is well written it is the best. Somehow I doubt too many people could improve on the Principals of Accounting though. Great review

  • September 20, 2010 at 6:18 am

    This is awesome! I’ve been hunting for great books on the ancient civilizations for my school and I would love to add “Cleopatra Rules” to the mix. Graphic novels just made everything more fun, and if you can learn something at the same time? So much the better. Thanks for sharing!

  • September 20, 2010 at 6:21 am

    @Katie – This particular book isn’t a graphic novel – it is a nice, glossy prose book with lots of full color photographs. Check it out – it is a very nicely put together book, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

  • September 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    What a pleasant surprise to come across this review. Made my day! Thank you. Also, I totally get the “manga maniac” way you describe yourself. I am now inspired to start calling myself “history maniac” (versus what my friends call me now–the decidedly uncool, history nerd).

  • September 20, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I’m so glad you ended up liking this. I thought it looked interesting and it really makes me happy to find out it was. I’ve always been interested in Cleopatra and based on your review, it seems that this book would present the information in an entertaining way. Thanks so much for the review!

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