The Woman Who Would be King

The Woman Who Would be King : Hatshepsut's Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt

3.62 (6,512 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
3.62 (6,512 ratings by Goodreads)

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 7-12 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


Hatshepsut, the daughter of a general who took Egypt's throne without status as a king's son and a mother with ties to the previous dynasty, was born into a privileged position of the royal household. Married to her brother, she was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father's family. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her inconceivable rule as a cross-dressing king. Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays with the veil of piety and sexual expression. Just as women today face obstacles from a society that equates authority with masculinity, Hatshepsut had to shrewdly operate the levers of a patriarchal system to emerge as Egypt's second female pharaoh.

Scholars have long speculated as to why her images were destroyed soon after her death, all but erasing evidence of her rule. Constructing a rich narrative using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power-and why she fell from public favor just as quickly.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 23mm | 312g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9781780747668
  • 25,947

Review Text

'An entertaining and well-researched biography on a lesser-known - but no less influential and powerful Egyptian woman'.

History Revealed
show more

Review quote

'An entertaining and well-researched biography on a lesser-known - but no less influential and powerful Egyptian woman'. * History Revealed * 'With rigorous scholarship and a lively sense of sisterhood, Cooney retrieves Hatshepsut in her own times and liberates her as a woman for ours' * The Times * 'Hatshepsut's story provides all the ingredients required of a modern bestseller' * Mail on Sunday * 'Kara Cooney has written a lively, engaging, historically accurate account of one of the most controversial of Egypt's female pharaohs, Hatshepsut. Cooney presents an accessible story of Hatshepsut's rise to power until her demise, bringing ancient Egypt, its people, and its rulers to life.' -- Salima Ikram, Professor of Egyptology, American University in Cairo 'Engrossing and compulsively readable.' * Time * 'The life of Hatshepsut, Egypt's second female pharaoh, was replete with opulent living, complex royal bloodlines, and sexual energy; in short, the kind of drama that fuels Ancient Egypt's enduring appeal...From Hatshepsut's self-perception, political prowess, and lifestyle emerge an image of the 'ultimate working mother' and a compelling insight into ancient gender roles.' * Publishers Weekly * 'Cooney's detective work finally brings out the story of a great woman's reign.' * Kirkus Reviews * 'Egyptologist Cooney peels back the layers of the life of Hatshepsut, Egypt's second female pharaoh, providing a multidimensional portrait of a woman of strength, intelligence, and substance.' * Booklist * 'The Woman Who Would Be King is a fascinating look at one of the most formidable and successful women in all of ancient history. Before Cleopatra there was Hatshepsut. Now, thanks to Kara Cooney, the real Hatshepsut stands before us in all her glory. For the first time we have a full-length biography of her that is not only a great scholarly work but also a marvelous read.' -- Amanda Foreman, author of The Duchess and A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War 'The compelling biography of a fascinating woman: the daughter, wife and stepmother of kings, who defied tradition to rule the most powerful nation in the Mediterranean world as pharaoh. Cooney tells her tale with authority, sensitivity and imagination. It is a tale that deserves to be told.' -- Joyce Tyldesley, author of Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt and Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh 'What Stacy Schiff did for Cleopatra, Kara Cooney has done for Hatshepsut. An absolutely fantastic read about one of the most powerful Pharaoh-Queens in ancient Egypt. Completely unputdownable!' -- Michelle Moran, bestselling author of Nefertiti 'The story of Hatshepsut, the woman who ruled Egypt as Pharaoh, is an amazing tale and Dr Cooney tells it in a very personal way. Readers are going to love this version!' -- Bob Brier, author of The Murder of Tutankhamen 'This biography of Hatshepsut is an ideal blend of historical analysis and an imaginative story. Cooney's narrative flows as if it were a novel, but at the same time illuminates the historical, economic, social, and religious context of Hatshepsut's world, and that of the people surrounding her. The reader is given a glimpse into a vibrant ancient world-one that we oftentimes forget about in the midst of all the granite and mudbrick that remains today. Writing a biography of a woman about whom there is little archival information is difficult, to say the least. Nevertheless, Cooney presents a seamless picture of Hatshepsut's life and her rise to power in ancient Egypt.' -- Professor Kathleen Sheppard, author of The Life of Margaret Alice Murray: A Woman's Work in Archaeology
show more

About Kara Cooney

Kara Cooney is an associate professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture at UCLA in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. In 2005, she was co-curator of Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Cooney produced a comparative archaeology series with her husband, Neil Crawford, entitled Out of Egypt, which aired in 2009 on the Discovery Channel and is streaming on Netflix.
show more

Rating details

3.62 out of 5 stars
- 6,512 ratings
5 23% (1,507)
4 36% (2,330)
3 26% (1,723)
2 9% (582)
1 6% (370)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X