Thinking Again About History
By Pat Brown
Prometheus Books, $20.00, 261 pages
Pat Brown’s The Murder of Cleopatra: History’s Greatest Cold Case reopens the case of the death of Cleopatra. Brown, a criminal profiler and TV commentator produced this book in conjunction with a television program examining much of the same material. Brown travels in Egypt and the Mediterranean, examining the setting of the battles between Anthony and Cleopatra and Octavian. She re-examines the extant ancient writing, as well as the existing ruins of the structures to get a feel for how the buildings would have been used and the population would interact with the buildings. Unlike many of these “historical mystery” books, Brown does not exaggerate what she knows, or leap to unwarranted conclusions. Her final analysis is very different from the conventional story of Cleopatra’s death, but the steps are clearly spelled out in the text. Readers looking for a lot of historical and cultural analysis won’t find that here, but anyone who is looking for an entertaining and well thought out look at a well known story should enjoy this book.
Reviewed by Katie Richards