The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut's Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney
Description: Dr. Kara Cooney uses her extensive training and background in Egyptology to breath life into little know Pharaoh Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut was one of the very few females to rule as Pharaoh on her own. Not only that but she managed to rule for over 20 years in a time of prosperity in Ancient Egypt.
Why I Picked This Book: Since I discovered a National Geographic with pictures of King Tut's tomb when I was a child I've been fascinated by Egyptian history. I had a fabulous history class and an art history class in college that only deepened that fascination. The name Hatshepsut was familiar to me but I knew very little about her.
Pros: I liked that Cooney told us front that there just wasn't much to know about Hatshepsut because there's just very few things out there that have survived as well as being limited by the very formal way the Egyptians recorded events. This was before the time of diaries. There are no letters to discover to get a really in-depth look at who she was as a person. What Cooney does do is give us a detailed look at the structure in which Hatshepsut grew up and came to power. While I feel like I knew quite a bit about Egyptian history this really contained a lot of information regarding the life these people led including religion, health risks, political power and gender roles. There is some conjecture regarding Hatshepsut herself - her opinions, her reasons for action - but Cooney is very clear on what is conjecture and what is fact and also clear on her reasoning.
Cons: This didn't read like a fiction story but I didn't find it particularly dry. If this subject isn't particularly interesting or only mildly interesting to you I don't think this will be the book to hook you. I would have liked to have had more pictures or sketches regarding some of the artifacts that were described.
Overall: This was a fascinating book about a very little known figure in Egyptian history. The material was presented in a clear manner and should not be missed if this a topic you are interested in. I read this on my Kindle and had no problems with illustrations.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely!
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes though not if you're not fascinated by Egypt already.