Maybe I should have given this 4 stars…Schiff’s research and her knowledge on this subject are impressive. What was disappointing was that she had one of the more interesting persons of history, along with her own insight, and she could create nothing more than an unengaging biography. While she clearly stated when she offered factual accounts and when she relied on second- or third-hand accounts, she showed us that the accounts we have read about Cleopatra being a seductress, a betrayer, a menace to the West, etc., were written by the victors with their own agendas when they constructed their stories and facts. Schiff pulls no punches but dares to point out the inconsistencies in their accounts… she was a wily seductress, but ugly and stupid. Schiff manages to illustrate how shrewd and adept Cleopatra was at managing and, for a time, expanding the large and powerful empire this non-Egyptian inherited.
I recommend this for those who are heavily into biographies. Why? Because, the Lexile score rates the difficulty of text based on word frequency and sentence length and scores above 1700L are considered advanced (i.e., at the college level. This is where I would place Cleopatra: A Life.