Sunday, November 11, 2007

YA Book Review: "Cleopatra" by Kerrily Sapet

I have never written a review on a nonfiction y.a. book. I am a little nervous so please do not judge me too much. Plus, I do not feel like I am a very good book reviewer but I try. So here it goes:

Morgan Reynolds Publishing is one of the more popular nonfiction teen publishers. They have a great series on World Leaders that features leaders such as Genghis Chan to Adolf Hitler to Woodrow Wilson. This is the first book in the series that I have read. Kerrily Sapet offers an objective view into the reign of Cleopatra. She presents an overview of the time from Cleopatra's birth in 70 or late 69 b.c. to her death in 30 B.C. She weaves the history of the Roman empire into how Cleopatra's formative years lead her to be the famous, adept leader that individuals have come to know.

Sapet draws from many resources and her account of the events that lead to Cleopatra's reign as well as its demise offers a clear and thorough history of Cleopatra. She also includes primary source information and quotes as well as boxed information that is relevant in understanding why Cleopatra portrayed her self the way she did. For example. there is a information box about Mystery Religions that gives insight into why Cleopatra portrayed herself as Isis, the Egyptian goddess. The narrative also contains quotes from Plutarch and Suetonius that describe certain Romans disdain for the Egyptian Queen. It is full of intrigue that will engage a young reader to search for more information. Sapet alludes to the corruption of the court and the Roman government and the conspiracies that seemed to run rampant at the time. She does not go into graphic detail about the relationships Cleopatra had with various Roman Generals but she also does not lighten what occurred between them.

The book is easily accessible to a young historian and flows smoothly between the major events that occurred in Cleopatra's life and during her reign. She also includes a time line as well as an interesting list of bibliographic resources. Sapet remains as objective as possible to the end and allows the reader to decide their own opinion of Cleopatra.

If you are looking for an accessible, fact-filled history on Cleopatra, this is certainly one to add to a library collection.

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