Hatshepsut — the daughter of a general who usurped Egypt's throne and a mother with ties to the previous dynasty — was born into a privileged position in the royal household, and she was expected to bear sons to legitimize her family's reign. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her improbable rule as a cross-dressing king. At just over twenty, Hatshepsut ascended to the rank of pharaoh in an elaborate coronation ceremony that set the tone for her spectacular reign as co-regent with Thutmose III, the infant king whose mother Hatshepsut out-maneuvered for a seat on the throne.
Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays in the veil of piety and sexual reinvention. Just as women today face obstacles from a society that equates authority with masculinity, Hatshepsut shrewdly operated the levers of power to emerge as Egypt's second female pharaoh. Constructing a rich narrative history, 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. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.
|Publication Date||Oct 13, 2015|