• Hardcover: 400 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (October 30, 2018)
This riveting narrative explores the lives of six remarkable female pharaohs, from Hatshepsut to Cleopatra–women who ruled with real power–and shines a piercing light on our own perceptions of women in power today.
Female rulers are a rare phenomenon–but thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, women reigned supreme. Regularly, repeatedly, and with impunity, queens like Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, and Cleopatra controlled the totalitarian state as power-brokers and rulers. But throughout human history, women in positions of power were more often used as political pawns in a male-dominated society. What was so special about ancient Egypt that provided women this kind of access to the highest political office? What was it about these women that allowed them to transcend patriarchal obstacles? What did Egypt gain from its liberal reliance on female leadership, and could today’s world learn from its example?
Celebrated Egyptologist Kara Cooney delivers a fascinating tale of female power, exploring the reasons why it has seldom been allowed through the ages, and why we should care.
When Women Ruled the World provides an in-depth examination of six female Egyptian rulers who were able to take hold and keep power within Ancient Egypt. The reigns of Merneith, Neferusobek, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, Tawosret and Cleopatra are investigated combining strong research and intricate story telling. Author Kara Cooney combines facts along with what was known about the political environment, climate and world affairs at the time to weave a plausible life story of each of these amazing women. With very little sources available, the conditions under which the six women were able to take hold and continue their rule are investigated and connected in many ways to our current political scene in the United States and the realities that women in politics face today. There were also many other comparisons to current life that made the world of the Ancient Egyptians easy to understand. I was very interested in the ways that these women were able to come to power, often at the end of a Dynasty when there was no other choice and when everything seemed to be falling apart, the women were there to pick the pieces up and put things back together. I am by no means an Egypt specialist, but I have always been intrigued by their way of life. The writing style and information was presented in an entertaining way and was easy to understand. Looking at Egypt through the eyes of these six extraordinary women gave a very different view to an often misunderstood and glamorized time of history as well as much insight into how women behave in roles that are still seen as masculine to this day.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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About Kara Cooney
KARA COONEY is a professor of Egyptology at UCLA. Her academic work focuses on death preparations, afterlife beliefs, and gender studies. She has participated in digs with the Metropolitan Museum of New York at the Royal Pyramid complex of Senwosret III and the Theban Necropolis with Johns Hopkins University. She appeared as a lead expert in the popular Discovery Channel special The Secrets of Egypt’s Lost Queen, and is a recurring team member of the History Channel’s Digging for the Truth. Her book The Woman Who Would Be King was published in 2014.
Find out more about Kara at her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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