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Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
In Cleopatra, Stacy Schiff tried to comb through the myths and misinformation about the Egyptian queen to tell the factual story of her life and the two most important relationships of her life. She was a member of the Ptolemy dynasty and had to defeat family rivals to secure her throne. Needing Julius Caesar's support to suppress internal strife while avoiding becoming a part of the Roman Empire, she formed a partnership with him and they had a child together. After Caesar was assassinated, she formed a similar alliance with Mark Antony, who governed the eastern part of the Roman Empire. They had three children together, but their partnership threatened the other Roman ruler, Octavian, who managed to turn the empire against Cleopatra and Mark Antony, ensuring their demise, as well as Egypt's. Cleopatra has received positive reviews with the Portland Oregonian saying, "Though readers unfamiliar with the period might occasionally get lost in the voluminous detail, Cleopatra: A Life is a rollicking good read. Schiff shares the talents that made her subject such a standout in her time: wit, rhetorical skill and keen intelligence."