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Queen, Empress, Concubine: Fifty Women Rulers from the Queen of Sheba to Catherine the Great

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The number of women who have ruled as queens or empresses, or governed as presidents or prime ministers, remains but a small subset of the total of those who have attained ultimate political power. But this elite group of women, who - through dynastic succession, democratic election or other means - have reached the heights of political and ceremonial leadership, includes The number of women who have ruled as queens or empresses, or governed as presidents or prime ministers, remains but a small subset of the total of those who have attained ultimate political power. But this elite group of women, who - through dynastic succession, democratic election or other means - have reached the heights of political and ceremonial leadership, includes some of the most influential and charismatic figures of world history. Queen, Empress, Concubine paints vivid portraits of the lives of 50 extraordinary women who have held positions of executive or ceremonial power throughout history, from the Queen of Sheba to Margaret Thatcher. Each biographical profile sets its subject clearly in the culture and context of its time, enabling author Claudia Gold not only to tell the stories of 50 courageous and fiercely independent women, but also to provide a fascinating and informative alternative social history of the last 3500 years.


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The number of women who have ruled as queens or empresses, or governed as presidents or prime ministers, remains but a small subset of the total of those who have attained ultimate political power. But this elite group of women, who - through dynastic succession, democratic election or other means - have reached the heights of political and ceremonial leadership, includes The number of women who have ruled as queens or empresses, or governed as presidents or prime ministers, remains but a small subset of the total of those who have attained ultimate political power. But this elite group of women, who - through dynastic succession, democratic election or other means - have reached the heights of political and ceremonial leadership, includes some of the most influential and charismatic figures of world history. Queen, Empress, Concubine paints vivid portraits of the lives of 50 extraordinary women who have held positions of executive or ceremonial power throughout history, from the Queen of Sheba to Margaret Thatcher. Each biographical profile sets its subject clearly in the culture and context of its time, enabling author Claudia Gold not only to tell the stories of 50 courageous and fiercely independent women, but also to provide a fascinating and informative alternative social history of the last 3500 years.

30 review for Queen, Empress, Concubine: Fifty Women Rulers from the Queen of Sheba to Catherine the Great

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brittney

    This was a great book if you are looking for a bio to read on someone. It's coffee table size and each person gets 4 or 5 pages. It's a good jumping off point if you want to learn about some influential women in history. The short bios are very basic and sometimes a little biased, but it is very interesting. There are a few people I would really like to learn more about after reading this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katherine 黄爱芬

    Akhirnya kelar juga baca buku ini. Saya agak lamban menyelesaikannya krn buku ini nonfiksi dgn tulisan minimalis dan terjemahan super kacau balau (banyak yg masih berupa Bahasa Inggris, sepertinya buku ini kagak diedit oleh editor deh). Padahal jumlah halamannya relatif tipis, 152 hlm saja. Buku ini bagus utk referensi kalian jika mencari tokoh sejarah. Bisa dibaca di Ipusnas dan saran saya sih bacanya via IPad atau Tab yg layarnya besar sehingga bisa zoom semaksimalnya tanpa ambyar, tapi siap-s Akhirnya kelar juga baca buku ini. Saya agak lamban menyelesaikannya krn buku ini nonfiksi dgn tulisan minimalis dan terjemahan super kacau balau (banyak yg masih berupa Bahasa Inggris, sepertinya buku ini kagak diedit oleh editor deh). Padahal jumlah halamannya relatif tipis, 152 hlm saja. Buku ini bagus utk referensi kalian jika mencari tokoh sejarah. Bisa dibaca di Ipusnas dan saran saya sih bacanya via IPad atau Tab yg layarnya besar sehingga bisa zoom semaksimalnya tanpa ambyar, tapi siap-siap terjemahannya mulai ngaco dari Cleopatra hingga usai halaman terakhir. Biografi setiap tokoh wanita di buku ini dikupas singkat, padat dan jelas tujuan politisnya. Banyak tokoh yg saya suka ada di buku ini spt Empress Theodora (istri Justinianus), Wu Hou (Wu Zetian), Eleanor Aquitane, Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great- tsarina Rusia. Saya juga suka female warrior disini spt Boadicea yg memimpin Inggris kuno melawan Romawi; Tomyris, Ratu Massagetae yg membunuh Cyrus Agung; Catherine Sforza yg melawan Cesare Borgia. Monarki Inggris menyumbang banyak disini terutama di era Medieval dan Tudor. Sayangnya Anne Boleyn tidak masuk dalam list padahal dialah penyebab utama Inggris "berpisah" dgn Roma hingga saat ini. Menurut saya malah lebih baik Jane Grey yg dihilangkan ketimbang Anne Boleyn walaupun saya bukan pengagum pelakor terbesar sepanjang sejarah yg satu ini. Banyak tokoh yg sebelumnya saya belum kenal/asing jadi saya tahu sedikit sejarahnya disini, seperti Catherine de Medici, Maria Theresa dari Austria (ibu Marie Antoinette) yg punya sejarah sepak terjang politik yg membuat saya tercengang. Dari beberapa tokoh yg saya nilai sembrono gak tertolong lagi seperti Mary Scots, Marie Antoinette atau Izebel di masa Kerajaan Israel Kuno adalah sebagai orang asing (apalagi sbg wanita tokoh sentral di samping raja) jangan naif dlm aksi politik. Jika suami mereka gagal, para wanita ini langsung jadi kambing hitamnya utk kegagalan suatu monarki. Makanya kita sbg wanita harus pintar-pintar melihat sikon dan jangan malas belajar apapun itu. Kambing hitam bukan cuma soal nyawa melayang tapi juga karier yg terjerumus. Jujur saya jadi kagum pada para wanita kuno ini yg sukses dlm "karier" mereka, baik lewat tipu muslihat maupun lewat "jalur yg benar" krn pada masa-masa sebelum abad 20, manusia itu rentan kepalanya tetap bersatu dgn badan, gampang utk berpisah dgn raganya akibat fitnah maupun intrik politik. Jadi resepnya apa dari mereka? Lebih banyak baca buku-buku sejarah ttg mereka sih.

  3. 4 out of 5

    sofiadheril

    Buku ini semakin membuatku yakin kalau sejarah 'berkonspirasi' untuk menciptakan image buruk terhadap perempuan. Hampir tidak ada sejarah yang menuliskan sosok perempuan hebat tanpa 'mendramatisir' keburukan, kehinaan atau segala sesuatu yang membuat sosok perempuan menjadi buruk di mata zaman sekarang. Cleopatra dianggap penggoda lelaki, semua perempuan jahat, penyihir dan keji di zaman kerajaan Israel lama dinamai Izebel (ratu Israel kala itu). Begitu takutkah orang-orang dengan kekuatan perem Buku ini semakin membuatku yakin kalau sejarah 'berkonspirasi' untuk menciptakan image buruk terhadap perempuan. Hampir tidak ada sejarah yang menuliskan sosok perempuan hebat tanpa 'mendramatisir' keburukan, kehinaan atau segala sesuatu yang membuat sosok perempuan menjadi buruk di mata zaman sekarang. Cleopatra dianggap penggoda lelaki, semua perempuan jahat, penyihir dan keji di zaman kerajaan Israel lama dinamai Izebel (ratu Israel kala itu). Begitu takutkah orang-orang dengan kekuatan perempuan? Sehingga harus menuliskan sejarah yang pahit dan kelam untuk menenggelamkan nama-nama perempuan hebat di masanya---perempuan-perempuan yang mampu melampaui para lelaki dalam segala bidang? Ketika membaca buku sejarah di mana 'tokoh utama' adalah laki-laki, kita akan disuguhi petualangan, keperkasaan, kepemimpian, kemenangan dalam perang atau keagungan para raja dan ksatria di medan tempur ataupun di meja diplomatik. Tentang keburukan atau perbuatan hina yang dilakukan para lelaki ini, sejarah seolah menguburnya dengan rapi dalam kata-kata penuh tipu daya. Seperti di dongeng-dongeng klasik, hampir semua penjahatnya adalah perempuan. Nenek penyihir yang di rumah kue Hansel dan Gretel, ibu tiri kejam Cinderela, penyihir perempuan jahat yang memberi Snow White apel beracun, lalu raja atau pihak lelaki di masanya digambarkan teperdaya, tertipu dan terbujuk rayuan para perempuan penjahat ini. Agak lucu kalau dipikir-pikir. Sementara di kebudayaan lain kita diajarkan untuk menghormati perempuan, doktrin-doktrin halus seperti dongeng justru yang menyentuh alam bawah sadar kita untuk selalu menyalahkan perempuan. Queen, Empress, Concubine: Fifty Women Rulers from the Queen of Sheba to Catherine the Great adalah bacaan sejarah yang bisa dinikmati di sela-sela waktu. Padat berisi namun sepertinya untuk mengenal dan mengetahui lebih banyak tentang 50 sosok perempuan hebat ini, kita masih perlu referensi sumber lain yang lebih lengkap dan rinci.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Gold looks at fifty women who gained power and either ruled directly or controlled the men in charge. Some of these women I've read biographies of, others I've heard of but not read much about and a couple I'm not familiar with at all. This was a gorgeous visual book with lots of photographs and illustrations and just enough text to give you a taste of the women's lives without bogging you down with too much information.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Yuska Vonita

    Saya nggak sengaja menemukan buku ini di situs Yes24. Tadinya saya mau membeli sepatu. Ternyata, memang dasar bukan rezeki, sepatu tersebut sold out. Saya bingung mau beli apa. Pada hari tersebut, buku ini muncul di halaman utama. Karena saya sedang menonton serial The Borgias, saya memutuskan untuk membeli buku ini. Dua tokoh dalam serial yang berdasarkan kisah nyata pemerintahan Vatikan era Paus Alexander VI tersebut, yaitu Lucrezia Borgia dan Catharina Sforza dibahas dalam buku ini. Saya juga Saya nggak sengaja menemukan buku ini di situs Yes24. Tadinya saya mau membeli sepatu. Ternyata, memang dasar bukan rezeki, sepatu tersebut sold out. Saya bingung mau beli apa. Pada hari tersebut, buku ini muncul di halaman utama. Karena saya sedang menonton serial The Borgias, saya memutuskan untuk membeli buku ini. Dua tokoh dalam serial yang berdasarkan kisah nyata pemerintahan Vatikan era Paus Alexander VI tersebut, yaitu Lucrezia Borgia dan Catharina Sforza dibahas dalam buku ini. Saya juga sedang membaca buku Maharani karya Pearl S. Buck. Tokoh utamanya, mantan selir yang menjadi Empress dinasti Qing, yaitu Ci Xi juga ada di buku ini.  Biografi tiap tokoh ringkas dan padat, dilengkapi inset kejadian penting dan kronologis dari awal mula berkuasa hingga tokoh tersebut tutup usia.  Sayangnya, terjemahannya masih terasa kaku di beberapa bagian. Tapi secara keseluruhan saya suka buku ini. Gara-gara membaca buku ini saya jadi tertarik untuk mencari buku biografi beberapa tokohnya.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dinah

    I have been working at this book for a very long time. I basically would read a story or two and then set it aside for a long time. It is a great Coffee Table book. Each woman's story is about 4 pages long. A timeline of her life is included along with the story of her life. Each story is well researched and written. There were many women that I had heard of, but did not know their entire story. There were some that I knew nothing about. Many of the women were loved and hated in their lifetime. I I have been working at this book for a very long time. I basically would read a story or two and then set it aside for a long time. It is a great Coffee Table book. Each woman's story is about 4 pages long. A timeline of her life is included along with the story of her life. Each story is well researched and written. There were many women that I had heard of, but did not know their entire story. There were some that I knew nothing about. Many of the women were loved and hated in their lifetime. It just goes to show how quickly public opinion can change. This was a book of strong and weak women who made their mark on history. It was fascinating.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Desislava

    Търсих тази книга от много време. И я получих за коледен подарък. Разкошна е. Красиви илюстрации и много добро оформление. Представя историята на 50 исторически личности жени-кралици, императрици или наложници. Книгата представя всяка от тях кратко и сбито. Въпреки,че за мен не е нещо ново като информация,защото съм добре запозната с историята и биографията на повечето от описаните личности,научих и някои нови и любопитни неща. Книгата е като енциклопедия и това много ми хареса-с най-важните фак Търсих тази книга от много време. И я получих за коледен подарък. Разкошна е. Красиви илюстрации и много добро оформление. Представя историята на 50 исторически личности жени-кралици, императрици или наложници. Книгата представя всяка от тях кратко и сбито. Въпреки,че за мен не е нещо ново като информация,защото съм добре запозната с историята и биографията на повечето от описаните личности,научих и някои нови и любопитни неща. Книгата е като енциклопедия и това много ми хареса-с най-важните факти от живота на тези жени,не много подробно,но е чудесна да се запознаете с тях като за начало. Харесва ми стила на писане на авторката като цяло. Но имам сериозна забележка-липсва една от най-интересните исторически личности Ан Болейн. И бях много разочарована,че не е представена в книгата, дори изненадана. Срещнах и някои тези,с които не съм съгласна. Пристрастеността и мнението на авторката силно се усещат в книгата. Препоръчвам книгата на всички любители на историята.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Foxley

    It wasn't what I was expecting - more of a coffee table book than what I normally read. Introduced me to some very interesting women I didn't know about. However the restrictions of the book (lots of glossy photos and most women only got about 4 pages) meant that sometimes it felt like I was getting the most minimal of information. I was also disappointed that some of the women chosen were biblical examples, as if there wasn't enough female leaders to make up the 50 without resorting to women I' It wasn't what I was expecting - more of a coffee table book than what I normally read. Introduced me to some very interesting women I didn't know about. However the restrictions of the book (lots of glossy photos and most women only got about 4 pages) meant that sometimes it felt like I was getting the most minimal of information. I was also disappointed that some of the women chosen were biblical examples, as if there wasn't enough female leaders to make up the 50 without resorting to women I'm not entirely sure if they are fictional or not (one source isn't really enough for me). If you're looking for something to dip into though and an introduction to some amazing female leaders then this isn't a bad book for that.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Britt Suits

    Raamatus käsitletakse lühidalt viiekümne ajalooliselt tähtsat rolli omanud naise elulugu. Naiste elulugude tausta saab ühtlasi ülevaate ühiskonna ajaloost. Raamat algab 15. sajandil eKr elanud Egiptuse kuninganna Hatšepsutiga ja lõpeb Suurbritannia kahe tänapäevase mõjuvõimsama naise (Margaret Thatcher ja Elisabeth II) ning 2007. aastal mõrvatud Pakistani peaministri Benazir Bhuttoga. See raamat osutus minusugusele sobivaks. Raamatus olid lühikesed peatükid, sekka illustreerivat materjali ja kõi Raamatus käsitletakse lühidalt viiekümne ajalooliselt tähtsat rolli omanud naise elulugu. Naiste elulugude tausta saab ühtlasi ülevaate ühiskonna ajaloost. Raamat algab 15. sajandil eKr elanud Egiptuse kuninganna Hatšepsutiga ja lõpeb Suurbritannia kahe tänapäevase mõjuvõimsama naise (Margaret Thatcher ja Elisabeth II) ning 2007. aastal mõrvatud Pakistani peaministri Benazir Bhuttoga. See raamat osutus minusugusele sobivaks. Raamatus olid lühikesed peatükid, sekka illustreerivat materjali ja kõige rohkem meeldisid mulle naiste juures toodud ajateljed. Ajatelgedel oli veel ekstra lühidalt (umbes kümnekonna aastaarvuga) kokku võetud naiste elud. Oli palju üllatavat, võiks öelda isegi, et uskumatut ja taaskord tõdesin, et mulle meeldib elada just omal ajal ja omas kohas.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Elizabeth

    Nice coffee table book with great portraits. Easy read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alexa Ayana

    Makasi Ipusnas buat buku ringkasan wanita2 kuat sepanjang sejarah ini.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tally, The Chatty Introvert

    This is a good basic guide to rulers who were women in different nations and times, some of them good, some bad, some exceptional, some probably forgotten for a reason. But it does tell you that there were a lot more women rulers (that we know of) then we previously thought. Of course, the book only goes up to 2007, but I'm sure the anniversary version (should it come out) will have quite a few more to add. I liked it because you got a basic biography of most of these women (at least, what's known This is a good basic guide to rulers who were women in different nations and times, some of them good, some bad, some exceptional, some probably forgotten for a reason. But it does tell you that there were a lot more women rulers (that we know of) then we previously thought. Of course, the book only goes up to 2007, but I'm sure the anniversary version (should it come out) will have quite a few more to add. I liked it because you got a basic biography of most of these women (at least, what's known) and who they knew and what their lives were like before and during their ruling period. I have to say, this book really made me want to read more about some of the earlier civilizations, the Ottoman empire, and Lady Jane Grey. Boy, I felt bad for her--I think she's the only "ruler" I know of who was practically happy to die...but it sucked that she did, in my opinion. Anyhoo, worth a look and a good resource for some basic info on women rulers--it's not a complicated read and has a lot to it. It's probably the third time I've read it and I just keep on liking it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Daisy

    Tomyris, the queen of Massagetae, her story is fascinating. The woman who defeated the famous king of kings Cyrus the great and even while he is using tricks and she did not Boudica, the queen of iceni (the modern day Britan), was the first queen who challenged roman rule in britan and who almost united the British against Romans and her statue today is located next to themes river in London Zenobia,the queen of the current day Syria, who dared to challenge the roman rule and even captured Egypt f Tomyris, the queen of Massagetae, her story is fascinating. The woman who defeated the famous king of kings Cyrus the great and even while he is using tricks and she did not Boudica, the queen of iceni (the modern day Britan), was the first queen who challenged roman rule in britan and who almost united the British against Romans and her statue today is located next to themes river in London Zenobia,the queen of the current day Syria, who dared to challenge the roman rule and even captured Egypt for 2 years.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    This book takes a look at fifty of the most remarkable women rulers throughout history. From the dawn of civilization in Egypt to the most controversial women of the 20th century, I really enjoyed reading about familiar rulers and more obscure women who shaped world history. I was surprised to see a few notorious figures left out, like Anne Boleyn and Alexandra Romanov, but I suppose Gold had to limit her choices or this book could have easily been twice as long.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Interesting and informative book about 50 influential women of the past and present--starting with Egyptian Queen, Hatshepsut, and ending with former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto. The mini-bios are surprisingly well fleshed out--in my opinion, at any rate--for the amount of space they're allotted (each one is approx. 4-6 pages long), and for the most part seemed to be mostly unbiased.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    Very good. I like how women eventually didn't have to sleep their way to power or be born into it. For so long women have been rubbed out of history and belittled. Its good to see how capable women are, even along time ago.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    It was good. I'd been meaning to read this for a while and it was a nice range of women but with books like this there's always individuals you wanted included who weren't. The stories for each of them was brief but for a quick read it wasn't bad.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    A fabulous book depicting the lives of the strong, scandalous and powerful lives of fifty female rules through out history. It gave detailed stories about their lives. I would recommend this to historical fiction lovers and women's history lovers too.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rena Nero

    A fantastic book full of amazing stories of some of history's greatest and most influential women. I enjoyed reading up on some old favorites and learning the stories and names of those I hadn't heard of before.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Amazing, this book is a good read, should you be looking for a basic history on some really amazing people.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    I really liked this being the history nerd that I am. It was interesting to see these women from a good light and now I am interested to learn more about them.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Liz DeMarco

    excellent brief histories on these amazing 50 women in history.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tanicia

  24. 5 out of 5

    BonnieL

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maddie

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Schonebaum

  27. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hanna

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Rae

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarita Simon

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