Can’t-Wait Wednsday: The Good Kings by Kara Cooney

Posted April 14, 2021 by Stephanie in can't-wait wednesday / 25 Comments

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and talk about the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read.


The Good Kings: Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World by Kara Cooney
Expected publication: November 2nd 2021 by National Geographic

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.

The gif above is an accurate representation of me when I found out about this book coming in November of this year. Kara Cooney is one of my insta-buy authors and I literally love everything she does. Her previous books The Woman Who Would Be King, When Women Ruled the World and Audible Original Powerful Women Who Ruled the Ancient World are top favorites of mine so of course I’m extremely excited for this upcoming new book of hers. It looks and sound simply amazing! If it arrives on time in November I might even read it for Nonfiction November. I’m SO excited!

25 responses to “Can’t-Wait Wednsday: The Good Kings by Kara Cooney

  1. This one is tempting me! I love the way she is using ancient History to give insights into what is going on in our own time – as someone who firmly believes that as a species we haven’t changed all that much in the last few millennia, this one is calling to me!

  2. verushka

    There’s an interesting examination of the pharohas and their people here, I think — and also, god your absolute geek glee at this book just makes me smile!

  3. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but history is my favorite. I haven’t tried anything by Kara Cooney but am adding her to my must read author list. This new books sounds like it will be really interesting! I hope you enjoy it when you read it!

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