Alexandria: The Last Nights of Cleopatra

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9781847087041: Alexandria: The Last Nights of Cleopatra
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Finding himself in Alexandria in the winter of 2010, Peter Stothard, editor of the TLS and former editor of The Times, is forced to contemplate his past in circumstances he does not expect. The aftermath of a bombing and the onset of the Arab Spring place obstacles in his plans to complete a long-delayed biography of Cleopatra. Minded by two guides, whose motives are mixed and mysterious, he visits Alexandria's ancient sites and revisits places and people from his own life, an Essex childhood among military engineers, Latin and Greek at Oxford and journalism high and low in London. In this extraordinary book, part memoir and part travel literature, written against the background of the fracturing police state of Egypt, a man and a woman from the author's school days are as pressing as the political minders of today.

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Review:

Touching and funny in the finest tradition of English letters --The Times

Subtle and mournful --Spectator

Alexandria exerts a powerful attraction. It is as good an evocation of one of the world's most absorbing cities as one could imagine. It is the depth and quality of Stothard's insights into himself that will make me go back to this book again and again. --John Simpson, Mail on Sunday

His discursive story of brooding on Cleopatra is fascinating, a book full of surprises, humour, information and reflections; it's a walk through the rich estate that is Peter Stothard's mind. --Allan Massie, Literary Review

Peter Stothard has brought back from his quixotic North African jaunt the materials of a very fine book indeed. --New Statesman

If I have any quibble with the book, it is based on wanting to spend more time with Stothard. The book is full of such won wisdom; and although not ostensibly there to report on the first stirrings of political change in Egypt, his glancing observations tell us more about a paranoid, fractious state than countless more column inches... and all of that shot through with a supremely humane intelligence. --Scotsman

Stothard marshals his material superbly to create an absorbing mix of history, biography and memoir --Sunday Times

Wonderful, surprising, it is with great skill that the various elements are knotted together to produce a very eerie sense of moving back and forth through place and time. ... This is an uplifting book - a constant reminder that life is far more richly layered and mysterious than we realise --Daily Mail

A subtle, haunting and complex book ... Stothard too, like Cavafy, takes his place in the venerable tradition of Alexandrian elegy. What he has composed, in the final reckoning, is a threnody for himself. --Guardian

Alexandria is a thoroughly engrossing read. With much subtlety, it proves what a classicist knows in his marrow. In snatching at a distant past, one cannot help but clarify the distance in between. In following the thread to Cleopatra, Stothard has found himself. --Standpoint magazine

His own story has a great plot, which emerges unobtrusively. At moments it's Jonathan Coe's The Rotters Club and The Closed Circle... Some episode are in the same comic league, too... In his reflections on the pasts whose details are smudged by loss, Stothard enduringly evokes the fragility of life and memory. --Telegraph

Alexandria is a thoroughly engrossing read. With much subtlety, it proves what a classicist knows in his marrow. In snatching at a distant past, one cannot help but clarify the distance in between. In following the thread to Cleopatra, Stothard has found himself. --Standpoint magazine

Like the tales it has to tell, this book's genre slips attractively in and out of focus: by turns, a scholarly quest; an offbeat travelogue; a postwar meritocrat's apologia. In the end, protean Cleopatra and her city will escape his grasp, but the story of their flight proves consistently bewitching and (in its more elegiac aspects) very moving too. --Boyd Tonkin, Independent

Alexandria is a thoroughly engrossing read. With much subtlety, it proves what a classicist knows in his marrow. In snatching at a distant past, one cannot help but clarify the distance in between. In following the thread to Cleopatra, Stothard has found himself. --Standpoint magazine

Stothard marshals his material superbly to create an absorbing mix of history, biography and memoir. --The Sunday Times

It's a love letter to England and a rumination on the nature of history and politics. --The Times

'A rich account of Stothard's visit to Egypt and how the Arab spring complicated his plans to complete a Cleopatra biography' --Observer

'F --Mail on Sunday

'Outstanding... this is expertly crafted writing of the highest calibre' ***** --The Lady

'In late 2010 Stothard travelled to Cleopatra's home city of Alexandria. His visit coincided with the Arab Spring, and his elegant book is a combination of memoir, biography and reportage' --Mail on Sunday

About the Author:

PETER STOTHARD is the Editor of the TLS and the author of two books of diaries, Thirty Days (2003) and On the Spartacus Road (2010). He is a classicist who has spent most of his life as a political and literary journalist. From 1992 to 2002 he was the Editor of The Times. In 2012 he was chairman of the judges for the Man Booker Prize. He was knighted in 2003.

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9781847087034: Alexandria: The Last Nights of Cleopatra

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ISBN 10:  1847087035 ISBN 13:  9781847087034
Publisher: Granta, 2013
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9786130253868: Alexandria

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Book Description GRANTA BOOKS, United Kingdom, 2014. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Finding himself in Alexandria in the winter of 2010, Peter Stothard, editor of the TLS and former editor of The Times, is forced to contemplate his past in circumstances he does not expect. The aftermath of a bombing and the onset of the Arab Spring place obstacles in his plans to complete a long-delayed biography of Cleopatra. Minded by two guides, whose motives are mixed and mysterious, he visits Alexandria s ancient sites and revisits places and people from his own life, an Essex childhood among military engineers, Latin and Greek at Oxford and journalism high and low in London. In this extraordinary book, part memoir and part travel literature, written against the background of the fracturing police state of Egypt, a man and a woman from the author s school days are as pressing as the political minders of today. Seller Inventory # AA99781847087041

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Book Description GRANTA BOOKS, United Kingdom, 2014. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Finding himself in Alexandria in the winter of 2010, Peter Stothard, editor of the TLS and former editor of The Times, is forced to contemplate his past in circumstances he does not expect. The aftermath of a bombing and the onset of the Arab Spring place obstacles in his plans to complete a long-delayed biography of Cleopatra. Minded by two guides, whose motives are mixed and mysterious, he visits Alexandria s ancient sites and revisits places and people from his own life, an Essex childhood among military engineers, Latin and Greek at Oxford and journalism high and low in London. In this extraordinary book, part memoir and part travel literature, written against the background of the fracturing police state of Egypt, a man and a woman from the author s school days are as pressing as the political minders of today. Seller Inventory # AA99781847087041

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