The Good Kings by Kara Cooney

"Non Fiction" words carved into wood
Book Genre "Learning" with "Learn" spelled in blocks

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This has been a period in history that has always interested me, so I was really excited to get my hands on this book! Author Kara Cooney takes a look at five Pharaohs in this book and how their power and rule has impacted our modern day politics. The Pharaohs focused on throughout this book are Khufu, Senwosret III, Akenhaten, Ramses II, and Taharqa.

I found the lives, successes, and reign of these Pharaohs to be really interesting! Khufu was one that I was especially interested in because I find the Pyramids fascinating! It was interesting to learn about how the building was constructed and how Khufu dictated over his people to keep his secrets even in death.

Khufu wasn’t the only one of interest though, I found so many things to learn about with each Pharaoh! I enjoyed the insights into these ancient leaders and how they mirror today’s political faces and actions, but for me, the most interesting parts were about the Egyptian rulers. I don’t think you have to be interested in politics to enjoy this book, so if you want to read more about some of these great historical Pharaohs, this is a great one to grab!

Where to Find This Book:

Goodreads | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Written in the tradition of historians like Mary Beard and Stacy Schiff who find modern lessons in ancient history, this provocative narrative explores the lives of five remarkable pharaohs who ruled Egypt with absolute power, shining a new light on the country’s 3,000-year empire and its meaning today.

In a new era when democracies around the world are threatened or crumbling, best-selling author Kara Cooney turns to five ancient Egyptian pharaohs–Khufu, Senwosret III, Akenhaten, Ramses II, and Taharqa–to understand why many so often give up power to the few, and what it can mean for our future.

As the first centralized political power on earth, the pharaohs and their process of divine kingship can tell us a lot about the world’s politics, past and present. Every animal-headed god, every monumental temple, every pyramid, every tomb, offers extraordinary insight into a culture that combined deeply held religious beliefs with uniquely human schemes to justify a system in which one ruled over many.

From Khufu, the man who built the Great Pyramid at Giza as testament to his authoritarian reign, and Taharqa, the last true pharaoh who worked to make Egypt great again, we discover a clear lens into understanding how power was earned, controlled, and manipulated in ancient times. And in mining the past, Cooney uncovers the reason why societies have so willingly chosen a dictator over democracy, time and time again.

Just the Facts:

The Good Kings by Kara Cooney
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: National Geographic
Pub Date: November 2, 2021


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I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.

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