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The Life of Alexander the Great (Modern Library Classics)
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (13 April, 2004)
list price: $9.95 -- our price: $9.95
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Read
I was impressed with this translation of Plutarch's Life of Alexander the Great.The prose was very clear and readable, and I finished the book very quickly.You shouldn't expect a detailed treatment of military or historical topics; the book is less than 100 pages in length, and such was not Plutarch's object anyway.Plutarch's Lives are really discussions of morality and character as evidenced in the lives of great men, and the history surrounding these men is really only a backdrop against which these things are portrayed.Use this book to begin to get a picture of Alexander the man; use other books to flesh out your understanding of Alexander the soldier, the king, and the politician. ... Read more

Isbn: 0812971337
Sales Rank: 365605
Subjects:  1. 356-323 B.C    2. 356-323 B.C.    3. Alexander the Great,    4. Ancient - Greece    5. Ancient Greece - History    6. Biography    7. Biography & Autobiography    8. Biography / Autobiography    9. Biography/Autobiography    10. Dryden, John, 1631-1700    11. Early works to 1800    12. Generals    13. Greece    14. Historical - General    15. Kings and rulers    16. Military    17. Presidents & Heads of State    18. Biography & Autobiography / Historical   


Alexander the Great
by Robin Lane Fox
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 September, 1994)
list price: $15.95
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Reviews (23)

4-0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Detail & Tough Reading
Robin Lane Fox hit the mark with this book.ALEXANDER THE GREAT is not simply the overtold story of the Greek conquest of the eastern known world.This volume details the history of Alexander while at the same critiquing the ancient sources of information. This book, therefore, is a definitive source reference for Alexander the Great.

In fact, there is so much information contained in this book that it is not easy reading.Do not expect to plow through this book in one sitting.Additionally, this book could well do with additional maps.The occasional black and white maps are infrequent and difficult to read.It was difficult to keep pace with the narrative and have a clear understanding of where the action was taking place.This is especially true of the chapters dealing with Alexander's conquests in Persia and India. You might want to keep and Osprey Campaign Series book handy as a geographical reference.

Robin Lane Fox's book was a refreshing and informative story, particularly since the recent motion picture, "Alexander," twisted and distorted the magnificent military career of Alexander the Great.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolute. Amazingly writen.
After a few sittings to Oliver Stone's ALEXANDER (which is really a fantastic and daringwork of art), I decided to do some research concerning Alexander The Great. I read Plutharco's, Arriano's, E. Rice's and Claude Mossé's biographies concerning Alexander. I recently came across Fox's book and it really conquered my deepest admiration and made me achieve a better comprehension of Stone's movie, his perspective and anthropological emphasis on the character. I highly recomend the book, which was also the prime source for Stone's script, and insist upon the need for our better understanding of the wonderful inspiration the movie really acomplished today, as to provoke so many interesting people to get in touch with this amazing historic character who was Alexander the Great.

4-0 out of 5 stars Overwelming, very detailed
I'm just a casual enthusiast of history, I am not a scholar or academic in this field. I have been a huge admirer of Alexander the Great since my childhood. I thought I would read this book on his life before the movie "Alexander" came out (which was awful by the way) just to see if the film was accurate in its portrayal. I don't have nearly enough knowledge to dispute what the author wrote, whether this or that event actually happened or when a certain battle took place. The book gets a bit confusing at times since it is so detailed, but it really allows the reader to see all the power struggles and politics of the time. It's not an easy book to read, but it's very enlightening. I can see how it might be "too much" for some readers, such as myself. I felt it was a bit too indepth at times. The author does a good job at pointing out how one event may have been documented in two or more ways and usually states what really must have happened. The book also shows us a more personable side to Alexander, not just his accomplishments. ... Read more

Isbn: 0140088784
Sales Rank: 122238
Subjects:  1. 356-323 B.C    2. Alexander,    3. Ancient World History    4. Biography / Autobiography    5. Biography/Autobiography    6. General    7. the Great,    8. Alexander    9. Ancient Greece    10. European history: BCE to c 500 CE   

Alexander of Macedon 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography
by Peter Green
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 September, 1992)
list price: $19.95 -- our price: $13.57
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Editorial Review

There's no shortage of biographies available on Alexander the Great, but PeterGreen's Alexander of Macedon is one of the finest. The prose is crisp and clear, andwithin a few pages readers become absorbed in the world that made Alexander, and then the story of how Alexander remadeit. Green writes, "Alexander's true genius was as a field-commander: perhaps, takenall in all, the most incomparable general the world has ever seen. His gift for speed, improvisation,variety of strategy; his cool-headedness in a crisis; his ability to extract himself from the most impossible situations; his mastery of terrain; his psychological ability to penetrate the enemy's intentions--all these qualities place him at the very head of the Great Captains of history." ... Read more

Reviews (65)

4-0 out of 5 stars Alexander, old school
This is a very detailed book about Alexander, the events immediately before his birth in Macedonia and his epic rise to immortality. Peter Green is no doubt a very keen observer of history and paints a very detailed picture of the different moral and social values that were present during Alexander's time.

Be warned though, this book was originally written in the early 70's and the style of writing is more textbook/academic than the current vogue of historical biography Ala, Robin Lane Fox: Alexander the Great and Tom Holland: Rubicon. Some serious students of Alexander may feel that some of the ideas presented have moved on somewhat as well.

Two areas that would have greatly assisted this undertaking are:

More maps and diagrams would have been helpful to get a better grasp of scale. What little maps there were focused almost entirely on the movements of Alexander and didn't really trace out movements of his various Generals etc.

A character folio at the back giving a brief overview of all characters presented in the book would have been infinitely helpful. Periodic appearances by minor characters throughout the narrative as well as the proliferation of similar names caused some confusion at times.

All in all a very enjoyable book but not undertaken lightly. I would recommend this to readers who already have a basic knowledge of Alexander, his life otherwise the sheer volume of detailed info may overwhelm.

3-0 out of 5 stars Well researched, but somewhat long and droning.
First off, I am not an Alexander expert.This is the first bio of Alexander that I've read.Second, it's obvious that the author has done a lot of research on Alexander and knows his topic.I have to say, however, that while parts of the story are gripping, a lot of it is long and boring.It comes down to this---once Alexander leaves home to essentially conquer the world, the book is 90% devoted to the military maneuvers.You get very little flavor for what clothes and foods were used.You get very little cultural information that doesn't relate to the military or how Alexander offended or rallied his troops.I'm not a big military buff...I like to get to know the PERSON in the biography and feel as if I know him.The tales of executions and rivalries are my favorite bits...but most of this is Alexander moving from locale to locale.Also, if you're not an expert on the ancient world, the author can quickly lose you with a lot of references to ancient cities or areas that unfamiliar to people living in the modern world.The maps focus tightly on areas so you can't get a sense of how everything fits together.The author's prose is exciting enough...but the endless military stuff bores me.If you want to know what it might be like to meet with and speak with Alexander, this book won't help you understand who he was...only what he did.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Various Facets of Greatness
If anyone in the history of the world ever deserved to be titled "The Great" it would be Alexander III of Macedon.Born in 356 B.C. to Phillip II and Olympias, Alexander would forever make his name great by leaving Greece to conquer Persia: the largest known empire in antiquity stretching from the Eastern Mediterranean to India. Peter Green's comprehensive biography covers the political and cultural backgrounds surrounding the events of Alexander's life to give the reader a clear picture of the complexeties of his character, the sources of his genius, and the significance of his achievements.

Peter Green is one of the most respected scholars of classical studies who received his degree at Trinity College, Cambridge where he eventually worked as Director of Classics.Peter Green is presently a tenured professor at the University of Texas, Austin.Not only is this book saturated with important factual information about Alexander and his time, its prose is easy to read with a good level of wit and humor.The book thoroughly explains the political and cultural context in which Macedonia came to power and its impact on the Greek city states.The book is also accompanied with maps detailing Alexander's travels and major battles.

This is an important work that covers in detail the various facets of Alexander's life: not a simple task for a man who accomplished so much in only 13 years of time; a man who, during that time, had covered almost 40,000 miles of mostly inhospitable territory on horse or on foot with an army varying from 60,000 to over 100,000 men.The book shows that Alexander was not simply a brilliant general who never lost a battle even under overwhelming odds: he was a brilliant politician, an explorer, and a philosopher.Alexander's voyages were not just conquests but explorations into a world that few Greeks knew of.His army was always accompanied by scientists, cartographers, philosophers, etc.: it was a royal court in motion.

This is a great book and Peter Green has done an outstanding job.I strongly recommend this biography over others for its comprehensiveness and smooth prose which makes reading it enjoyable for readers of almost any age: it's a great buy.

... Read more

Isbn: 0520071662
Subjects:  1. 356-323 B.C    2. Alexander,    3. Biography    4. Biography / Autobiography    5. Biography/Autobiography    6. Generals    7. Greece    8. Historical - General    9. History    10. the Great,   


The Nature of Alexander
by Mary Renault
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (12 November, 1979)
list price: $13.00 -- our price: $9.75
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Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read...
I'm one of the fortunate ones who have a hardback edition with the 4 page fold-out full color map of Alexander's travels (hehe).

Mary Reneaul has Alexander down pat, as far as I'm concerned.I admit I'm an Alexander enthusiast (pro-Alexander as opposed to, say, Bosworth's or Green's anti-Alexander).If you're from the anti- camp, you won't enjoy this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bivouacked Atop Babylon
Tanks, personnel carriers and backhoes are destroying the Palace where Alexander lay dying while his general's fought the "richest" sword fight in history. The outcome produced the Ptolometric reign in Egypt ending with Cleopatra and the Roman Empire.

No one can properly understand history without reading this book or one like it; Bucephalus, the Gordian Knot, Oracles, Mythology and a mud hut propped up outside the palace wall with Airistotle as a teacher of Engineering and Medicine. A young student with the "world" on his mind and an army trained with the descipline of the Phalanxs Movement, today's "Dress Right Dress," order and courage.

I don't know another book like it! To many, one of the top ten books read in their life time.

My hat is off to Mary Renault.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Rich, Exciting Work.
There are authors and historians who are readily attached to a figure of historical value because of their insight into the character, such is the case of Mary Renault and Alexander The Great. No modern author, not even Robin Lane Fox, is so famously mentioned when discussing the written works surrounding the life and times of the greatest conqueror ever to invade a foreign soil. Renault is mostly recognized for her fictional novels about Alexander, especially "The Persian Boy," but it can be argued that her best work is actually her non-fiction biography "The Nature Of Alexander" which stands as one of the best, if not THE best. It is a rich work of language and history, it pulsates with the idea that history is life and life is history. Many authors of recent years, especially Peter Green, have tried to re-write the life of Alexander by slapping him with flaws meant to mirror the ideas and trends of today, but Renault's book rightly judges Alexander based on the ideas and standards of HIS era. She presents him as a brilliant strategist, a thinker who loved poetry and music, bred by powerful, strong-willed parents. Yes, the man had his flaws as we all do, but in "The Nature Of Alexander" he was a visionary who changed the course of human history by attempting to fuse cultures and discover new worlds. Renault writes in incredible detail about the customs of Ancient Greece and Macedonia, she fleshes out the characters with great insight and explores fascinating topics such as the Dionysian cults Alexander's mother, Olympias, indulged in and more importantly, Renault treats these characters as real people, not just names on scrolls, she tries to explore the emotions, feelings and ideas that brought about the described events. Her descriptions of how Alexander's story came down through the ages is fascinating, especially the areas covering the development of the "Alexander Romance" and how even when Greece was conquered by Rome the great names of that period such as Caesar, Marc Antony and Augustus visited the conqueror's famously lost shrine to pay homage. In thrilling detail we read about Judea remembering the Beast With Two Horns who harmlessly passed their way. And of course Renault takes us through the entire campaign of Alexander from Macedon to India, it is a wonderous story of exploration and discovery, philosophy, courage and even religion. "The Nature Of Alexander" is a grand success particularly because it is so enjoyable. Like Robin Lane Fox's book, this does not read like some tired acaedemic work where the writer feels like a tidious, pompous Cassander trying to impress the reader (for that you can read "Alexander Of Macedon" by Peter Green), instead Renault writes like an obsessed lover of the subject, it doesn't feel like a book that was tiresome to write. For avid readers of history this is a gem. ... Read more

Isbn: 039473825X
Sales Rank: 37988
Subjects:  1. 356-323 B.C    2. Alexander the Great    3. Alexander,    4. Ancient - Greece    5. Biography / Autobiography    6. Historical - General    7. History: American    8. the Great,    9. History / Ancient / General   


Conquest and Empire : The Reign of Alexander the Great (Canto)
by A. B. Bosworth
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (26 March, 1993)
list price: $18.99 -- our price: $12.91
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Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Bosworth's views on Alexander are not supported by facts
I have found Bosworth's book "Conquest and Empire - The Reign of Alexander the Great" very useful for his scholarly approach and for many references but Bosworth's chief weakness is his undue dependence on the Greek and Roman authors. Bosworth fails as an objective scholar mainly because of his ignorance of the Sanskrit and Pali sources which offer invaluable data. Like his mentor Badian, he totally ignores historical details. Alexander was surely chasing Moeris of Pattala through Gedrosia and a little circumspection shows that Moeris was the leader of the Indians whose defeat he celebrated at Kahnuj in southeast Iran. Thus Kahnuj was Palibothra, not Patna in the east where not a single archaeological relic of the Mauryas has been found. This shows that Moeris was none other than Chandragupta Maurya, the leader of the Prasii. In fact Moeris was also the same as the Satrap Sasigupta ('Sashi'='Chandra'= moon). This rubbishes Bosworth's claim that Alexander's Gedrosian expedition was only due to his insane desire to surpass Dionysius and Semiramis.

Bosworth writes much about Alexander's vehemence at Tyre but is not aware that this was aimed at the husband of the daughter of the Satrap Pixodarus whom he once wanted to marry. This was Orontobates of Caria without a careful study of whom Alexander's life history cannot be written. We find Orontobates who was the same as Sissines or Sasigupta later in mysterious circumstances. It is beyond Bosworth's dream that this Sissines was the same as Tiridates who almost handed over the treasury of Persepolis to Alexander. Diodorus gave the name of Tiridates as the ruler of Gedrosia where Alexander chased Moeris or Sasigupta. He also has no idea that Andragorus was the same as Androcottos or Sandrocottos. A little knowledge of Sanskrit shows that the Sun's quadriga of Andragorus' coins in fact gives his name as Arunadas or Orontes. Aruna is the Dawn as personified by the charioteer of the Sun. This is Orontes of Armenia.

Furthermore, as I have shown,... Alexander's altars have not been found because these were overwritten by Asoka and converted into his pillars. At least one of the famous Asokan pillars (Topra) was shifted from the Beas area where Alexander had setup his altars. Plutarch wrote that in his days the altar's of Alexander were held in much veneration by the Prasiians, whose kings were in the habit of crossing the Ganges every year to offer sacrifices in the Grecian manner upon them. This exposes the shallowness of Bosworth's claim about the triviality of Alexander's legacy. As the Prasiians after Bindusara were Buddhists, Plutarch's report clearly hints at Alexander's role in the revival of Buddhism in pre-Asokan India. From Asoka's references themselves it can be inferred that the inscriptions in the altars were related to his call for homonoia. Historians have to guard against undue glorification but this should not be a blind exercise. Tarn and Lane Fox took a saner view.

2-0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly dishonest book
If you can read only one book about Alexander the Great, read something other than A. Brian Bosworth's "Conquest and Empire - The Reign of Alexander the Great". Sadly, Bosworth's 1988 doorstop is little more than a hatchet job, wearing the mask of a serious work of scholarship.

The facade is awfully good -- Bosworth's command of his subject is made abundantly clear by the unending flood of footnoted citations of sources both ancient and modern, famous and obscure. The central problem is that, early in the book's Prologue, Bosworth sneers "the history of (Alexander's) reign has all too often been a thinly disguised biography, distorted by the personality and values of its author," and then goes on to promise, "This book is an attempt to analyse Alexander's impact on his world without any preconceived notion of his personality or motives."

And then -- over and over again throughout the work -- he commits the very sins of distortion and preconception that his Prologue so disdains. "Conquest and Empire" thereby becomes an abyssal sump of academic dishonesty and deep and fundamental scholarly hypocrisy. Throughout its more than 300 pages of agate type, Bosworth employs the rhetorical weapons of invidious phraseology and highly selective citation to paint an almost unremittingly dark and sour portrait of Alexander.

Now, mind you, in my book, there is nothing wrong with taking a skeptical or even a studiously negative view of one's subject, just as I have no problem with the opposite approach, so long as the writer is honest about his own prejudices in either case. From my perspective, Bosworth's sin lies in his pretense to objectivity, rather than in his relentless negativity.

Since he burst on the scholarly Alexandrian scene in 1981 with the publication of Volume I of his "A Historical Commentary on Arrian's History of Alexander", Bosworth has been the anointed heir to the throne of his hero and mentor, Ernst Badian. As the enfant terrible of the "Alexander the Bad" school of thought, it is clear that Bosworth finds violence and war in general deeply repugnant on a personal level, and he wears his bias on his sleeve in his every description of Alexander's military encounters and punitive actions.

Unfortunately, he allows his own prejudice in that regard to deeply color both his presentation and his versions of the details of these incidents in what can only be regarded as a calculated betrayal of his claim of objectivity and of the trust of his less-well-informed readers. As one example of this systematic dishonesty -- and it is far from alone -- let us examine his narrative of the closing events of the siege of Tyre.

Apparently because it would undermine his theme of Alexander's savagery, Bosworth fails even to mention Arrian's report of the Tyrian murder of a group of captured Sidonian sailors, whose bodies were then cast into the sea -- an act of sacrilege that would have, for lack of Charon's fee, condemned the victims to wander the Earth as ghosts, instead of their shades being admitted to the Underworld or perhaps even the Elysium Fields. (To discount the story as propaganda would have been one thing -- to omit it entirely, especially in the face of his obsessive footnoting of the most minor negative details, is quite another.) Likewise, he states as fact that Alexander ordered 2000 Tyrians crucified, although that detail appears only in Curtius' and Diodorus' accounts. (Again, to have characterized this incident as probably true would have been one thing -- to state it flatly as a fact is another.)

These are not omissions we would expect from a truly objective scholar -- and particularly not from one so inordinately fond of otherwise-exhaustive, chapter-and-verse citations of the ancient sources on the most picayune details of geographic and other non-military matters.

Worst of all, in my view, although Bosworth cites the work of an incredible array of geographers, historians and other specialists, he never once mentions or alludes to Major General J.F.C. Fuller's seminal analysis "The Generalship of Alexander the Great", even though Bosworth himself goes to great pains to offer his own dissection of the events of each of Alexander's battles, great and small. Since Fuller is the ONLY professional military strategist to have written on the subject -- and his book is well-known and frequently cited by other Alexander historians -- that oversight can only have been purposeful on Bosworth's part, and his substitution of his own analysis without so much as acknowledging Fuller's work can only be viewed as an act of supreme hubris.

Even though I cannot claim to be a scholar, I believe that the praise that the other reviewers have heaped upon Bosworth here is undeserved. Instead, I think he merits the sternest opprobrium for his intellectual dishonesty and purposefully misleading professions of objectivity.

Likewise, I feel that "Conquest and Empire" is a book that only those who are thoroughly enough versed in the Alexander canon to recognize the hatchet marks should read. For them, it has considerable value, if only for its exhaustive citation of the work of modern geographers. The casual reader would be far better served by even Robin Lane Fox's "In Search of Alexander", which, for all its flaws, at least does not pretend to objectivity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
With the plethora of books out there about Alexander, (ranging from the silly to historical-fiction/fictitious history), as a layman I wanted a book that would give me solid historical information instead of wish fulfillment and in this Dr.Bosworth definitely delivers. If you are not a student of Classical History but a layperson, (as I am), to this subject, be warned...you will need a good working knowledge of the geography of Asia Minor and the Near East and a familiarity with Classical Languages and terminology, but with patience and a few good dictionaries is more than worth the effort. You will learn about a man who may well stand as one of the most influential human beings who ever lived. Why read silly fiction about Alexander when the facts, (as best we know them), are incredible enough in themselves? ... Read more

Isbn: 052140679X
Sales Rank: 90344
Subjects:  1. 356-323 B.C    2. Alexander,    3. Ancient - Greece    4. Ancient Greece - History    5. History    6. History - General History    7. History: World    8. Magick Studies    9. Reference    10. the Great,    11. Ancient Greece    12. European history: BCE to c 500 CE    13. History / Ancient / General    14. Persian Empire   


History of Alexander, The (Penguin Classics)
by Quintus Curtius Rufus, WaldemarHeckel, JohnYardley
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (06 November, 1984)
list price: $13.00 -- our price: $10.40
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Five stars academically, two stars as 'popular' history
Not an easy book to review.This is a 'scholarly' account-Curtius' "History of Alexander" is one of the sources for the great general's life, written some time after his death, written by a Roman, and written for a Roman market which venerated the military genius of Alexander and appreciated his skills in prefiguring the Roman methods of diplomacy ... i.e., proffering the hand of friendship, but carrying a very sharp sword.

Anyone with an academic interest in the era will be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of this work and will hardly require a populist review.However, anyone looking for an accessible, readable account and analysis of Alexander's career and impact on Europe and Asia will not find it here.So, while the work merits five stars for its scholarship, as a piece of accessible, popular history, two stars is not an uncharitable assessment.

Curtius' "History" is preserved in fragmentary form only.The first two 'books' are missing and can only be offered in summary form.Written at least three hundred years after Alexander's death, Curtius' work is based on primary Greek sources which are no longer to be found.In his introduction Heckel argues that the author, Curtius, was alive in the time of Claudius and wrote this work around 40-50 AD.Others, however, have suggested that the writer lived later, and wrote around 200 AD.

This may appear a spurious debate for those interested solely in Alexander himself, but Heckel demonstrates that the content of the work does make allusions to contemporary Roman life and politics, and that it's historical accuracy is distorted to provide commentary on Roman life, thus diverging from a true description of Alexander's world.

Heckel's introduction is informative, well argued, and provides a sound basis for appreciating the value of the text. John Yardley's translation is fine.It is scholarly and, from what I can gather, an accurate translation.This does not, however, make it a 'good read' in 21st century terms.The Roman style of historical writing is a trifle staccato for modern tastes, tends to follow a process of making statements or offering allusions.Its narrative dynamic and analytical style are slow, terse, and somewhat disjointed.Given that fragments of the 'books' are missing, the sense of continuity is further fractured.

The content of Curtius' "History" is fascinating.For anyone with a scholarly interest in the era (and that can include amateur historians or even wargamers), there is plenty of detail and plenty of flavour of the Greek world to have you poring over this for years.This is a book to dissect, to search for evidence rather than to read.It is a book which poses questions rather than provides answers.

An essential source, a fine translation backed by a sound introduction, this is not a book for light reading, but it is a 'must' for the shelves of the enthusiast, and it is a book which will be referred to again and again by anyone with more than a passing interest in the world of Alexander.

3-0 out of 5 stars Alexander the Great's Art of Strategy is much better
I recently read a slew of books about Alexander the Great in anticipation of the movie. I have to admit that hile this academic text might be required reading of many college and high school history classes, I found Alexander the Great's Art of Strategy much more engaging, insightful, and fun to read. The battle descriptions in the this book are phenomenal. One feels like one is right in the middle of a battle. Rufus doesn't do such a great job.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Source
Though not the definitive work on Alexander, Curtius provides detail not included by other sources. Sometimes hypocritical and biased, Curtius details the campaigns of Alexander with heavy focus on Alexander the person. To read this book is a must for anyone interested in Alexander. It is one of the primary sources and the fact that he is not as nice about Alexander (such as Plutarch or Arrian) may indeed do justice to the reader. This book can best be understood with the addition of Fuller's "The Generalship of Alexander The Great". ... Read more

Isbn: 0140444122
Sales Rank: 76876
Subjects:  1. 356-323 B.C    2. 356-323 B.C.    3. Alexander,    4. Biography    5. Biography/Autobiography    6. Early works to 1800    7. General    8. Generals    9. Greece    10. History    11. History - General History    12. Macedonian Expansion, 359-323 B.C    13. the Great,    14. Alexander    15. Ancient Greece    16. Biography: historical    17. European history: BCE to c 500 CE    18. History / General   


The Campaigns of Alexander (Penguin Classics)
by Arrian, Flavius Arrianus
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 October, 1976)
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Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cavemen?
The wierdest part of this history was the account in Indika of the island of cavemen that Nearchos ran into, and battled with his fleet...

"There was a lagoon at the mouths of the river, and the depressions near the bank were inhabited by natives in stifling cabins. These seeing the convoy sailing up were astounded, and lining along the shore stood ready to repel any who should attempt a landing. They carried thick spears, about six cubits long; these had no iron tip, but the same result was obtained by hardening the point with fire. They were in number about six hundred. Nearchus observed these evidently standing firm and drawn up in order, and ordered the ships to hold back within range, so that their missiles might reach the shore; for the natives' spears, which looked stalwart, were good for close fighting, but had no terrors against a volley. Then Nearchus took the lightest and lightest-armed troops, such as were also the best swimmers, and bade them swim off as soon as the word was given. Their orders were that, as soon as any swimmer found bottom, he should await his mate, and not attack the natives till they had their formation three deep; but then they were to raise their battle cry and charge at the double. On the word, those detailed for this service dived from the ships into the sea, and swam smartly, and took up their formation in orderly manner, and having made a phalanx, charged, raising, for their part, their battle cry to the God of War, and those on shipboard raised the cry along with them; and arrows and missiles from the engines were hurled against the natives. They, astounded at the flash of the armour, and the swiftness of the charge, and attacked by showers of arrows and missiles, half naked as they were, never stopped to resist but gave way. Some were killed in flight; others were captured; but some escaped into the hills. Those captured were hairy, not only their heads but the rest of their bodies; their nails were rather like beasts' claws; they used their nails (according to report) as if they were iron tools; with these they tore asunder their fishes, and even the less solid kinds of wood; everything else they cleft with sharp stones; for iron they did not possess. For clothing they wore skins of animals, some even the thick skins of the larger fishes."

Cavemen who dont at all use metal, but only stones and fingernails...they wear animal skins...but most importantly, bodies COVERED in hair? What?! I want to go search for this island.

I want to go look for this island, i know how wierd it is, but THIS paragraph caught my eye more than any other in this work.

Arrian's account of Alexander is the best ancient source, though he is a bit of an apologist for the actions of Alexander, so dont believe ALL that Arrian says. The guy though was an actual general, and he had fought and conquered, he was someone who had been through many of the same situations as Alexander as a governor and general, so he DOES know what he is talking about.
Great work...

5-0 out of 5 stars Of Myth and Men
The most amazing thing that about this book is that Arrian somehow managed to rescue the man from the legend, the god from the myth and the story from the soothsayers.He intended to write a factual history of the great leader but by necessity was forced to rely on word of mouth, old stories, past recollections and hardly any authoritative manuscripts.

Considering what he had to work with, the outcome is simply amazing.Like Thucydides, Herodotus and Livy, his goal was to write a factual work that was to have been definitive...and it was.The campaigns are given much attention as well as the character of Alexander.For a more scholarly and literary work I recommend Robin Lane Fox and his biography of Alexander - just stupendous.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book!
This book is a PRIMARY SOURCE that is great for any student. An ancient work that has great deatails. It is actually interesting to read, even if you just use it for school. If you want more information on this book, feel free to e-mail me at Silvermouse51@aol.com. I will try to respond to your e-mail as soon as possible. Again, buy this book if you're doing a project on Alexander the Great! It's the absolute best you can ever buy! ... Read more

Isbn: 0140442537
Sales Rank: 121668
Subjects:  1. 356-323 B.C    2. 356-323 B.C.    3. Alexander the Great    4. Alexander,    5. Ancient - Greece    6. Early works to 1800    7. History    8. History - General History    9. History: World    10. Iran    11. the Great,    12. Alexander    13. Ancient Greece    14. Campaigns    15. European history: BCE to c 500 CE   


The Generalship of Alexander the Great (Da Capo Paperback)
by J.F.C. Fuller
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 September, 1989)
list price: $19.00
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent View of Alexander
There are many biographies of Alexander the Great out there.Most tend to look at his influence on the the times he lived in, as well as his legacy to the world.There are many ways to view the Macedonian juggernault.Here we have a unique perspective by a reknowned military historian.JFC Fuller takes Alexander's career and provides a first-rate look and analysis. The book is divided into two roughly equal parts.The first section provides a fast moving mini-bio of his life, emphisizing the major battles and campaigns of Alexander.The depth here is lacking, and purposely so, as this information is only provided in order to follow the discussion of his generalship.

Alexander exercised a unique kind of leadership. In addition to leading from the front in battle, he also combined the abilities of general and statesmen all in one person. In battle Alexander's presence was a decisive influence.He had an innate ability to read a tactical situation, and adapt it to the abilities of his Macedonian army.Its important to understand how important this army was to Alexander's strategy.Without this carefully crafted force which his father, Philip II created, Alexander could not have accomplished what he did.Fuller helps us to understand this by showing how Alexander used this army as a tool for all his endeavors.Its important to remember how much the Macedoonian army out-classed its Persian and Indian opponets.It was also a very versatile army, able to operate in almost any circumstances.

We see Alexander's brilliance both in major and minor battles and campaigns.This book is a must have for the Alexander specialist.It can serve as a useful guide for any of the numerous biographies out there which tend to gloss over many of the details of his generalship.Highly recommended for Alex buffs, and for the recent interest generated by the new movie on this subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Good -
This book was fascinating to read in High School. The ambition of Alexander the Great is a wonderful example for men to follow. This book is brilliant and flows very well.
Each of his great battles are examined in depth.


4-0 out of 5 stars Fuller on Alexander
An incredible study of Alexander's' life, political leadership and campaigns by a retired British General. Fuller was very conscious of the fact that modern men can learn from the experiences of Alexander. His awareness lead to not only an adept analysis of Alexander's leadership (military, political and diplomatic), but of commentary as applicable today as forty years ago. ... Read more

Isbn: 0306803712
Sales Rank: 234309
Subjects:  1. Ancient - Greece    2. History - General History    3. Military - General    4. Alexander,    5. the Great,    6. HISTORY-MILITARY/WAR   

The Genius of Alexander the Great
by N. G. L. Hammond
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 August, 1998)
list price: $17.95 -- our price: $11.87
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Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars Hammond's Alexander - A Perfect King?
In recent years, there has been a positive fashion for writing about Alexander the Great, particularly after the mid-century arguments from scholars who wanted to view him either as an evil tyrant, or a sort of proto-Christian examplar of conquering chivalry.Hammond's book is obviously part of this all-or-nothing trend in Alexander studies.

I read N.G.L. Hammond's book, The Genius of Alexander the Great after reading numerous other biographies including Fox, Green, Wilcken, and others, largely due to my appreciation of Hammond's status as an Oxford scholar with thirty years of solid publication on Alexander, Macedonia, and the Greek Hellenistic world. Although his credentials are impeccable, almost from the first chapter I realized that I was reading one of those scholars who felt they had to take a stand on the issue of Alexander-the-Good, Alexander-the-Bad.And Hammond definitely comes down on the side of Alexander the decent, good well-meaning chappie, who was a military genius.To me, this kind of selective biography becomes increasingly irritating, although to the brand-new student of Alexander, his summary of the known facts about Alexander's life is meticulous and quite helpful - except for his bias.

Reading this book will give you the Alexander basics, but from Chapter 1, Hammond feels authoritively able to simply discount sources he dislikes (i.e., ancient sources who brought up questions concerning Alexander's temper, violence, cruelty, drunkenness, and less-than-altruistic motiviations).So we regularly hear that such-and-such a source may be "dismissed" as a complete or partial fabrication. Apparently, Hammond particularly loathes Curtius, but Diodorus Siculus is also regularly dismissed out of hand.Instead, he quotes extensively from sources such as Ptolemy, Aristobulus, and their heir, Arrian, showing Alexander in the best possible light.

In any book, whether it's Tarn or Badian, I am deeply suspicious of selective source-hunting, and I'm afraid that Hammond's regular choice in this regard grew irksome to me.I would say this is a good, steady view of Alexander's life and works with the proviso that the reader must be aware of all that is being bowdlerized from the ancient sources.I, personally, believe in a decent Alexander who also could do awful things, but scholars who ignore contradictory sources to present him do his genius no good service.In so saying, I mean no disrespect to Hammond's obvious expertise in the area and his long history of scholarship in this field.I simply wish he could have brought his expertise to bear in accepting both the good AND the bad about Alexander.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well-Detailed, Highly Entertaining And Informative.
Few figures in the history of the world have attained the mythical status and timeless quality of Alexander The Great. The man and myth continue to fuel the imagination of every new generation. This is no surprise when one reads about the man's achievements and how they changed the world. The lore of the story relies in the classic, epic sense of adventure that courses through it, it is a tale that takes us through various cultures, characters and to the stretches of the known world. N.G.L. Hammond is clearly an admirer of Alexander and tells his story here with the flare of homage and reverence. "The Genius Of Alexander The Great" gives us a story of boldness and the quest for knowledge and truth. Alexander comes off as a highly intelligent, cultured commander who embarks on a quest to defeat a mammoth Persian empire and bring Greek culture into the civilisations of Asia and beyond and to also introduce their cultures to the Greeks and Macedonians. Hammond describes in great detail the battles Alexander wins against Persian king Darius, who is ruler of the world before the Macedonian king steps ashore. The book is also a fascinating exploration of Greek history, taking us deep into the cultural traditions and aspects of Alexander's world. One realizes you cannot judge Alexander by the standards of our time, this is one figure that demands to be judged by the standards of his own time and era. If one takes the book to heart with careful attention, you realize what sets Alexander apart from conquerors like Caesar, Napoleon and Hannibal is that his goal was simply to achieve a sort of greatness in the style of Achilles ("The Iiliad" was a constant companion during the Asiatic campaign). Hammond's book is also a wonderful gallery of characters. The most memorable aside from Alexander would have to be his free-spirited mother Olympias, who here is depicted dancing wildly in Dionysian cults, handling snakes and indulging herself in orgiastic rituals such as the "Bacchae." There is also Alexander's talented, brilliant father Philip, the philosopher Aristotle and others. It's evident that Alexander lived in special times for the history of civilisation and he was simply there to add his mark. And Hammond writes it all with a novelistic style that engrosses the reader and transports you there clearly and vividly. From Macedonia and Persia to Egypt and India, Hammond takes us on a journey to understand how there are daring, epic moments in history that live on forever. A wonderful read and memorable book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book on a great historical figure.
This is the last book written by Prof. Hammond on ATG and it really is a nice piece of work. Some people may claim that he tends to over-glorify Alexander but I don't believe so. His analysis is very balanced and his criticism is not based on 20th Century values and ideals, which is a problem with other authors on the same subject.

If you're looking for a good book on Alexander the Great, do start here. ... Read more

Isbn: 0807847445
Sales Rank: 379037
Subjects:  1. Ancient - Greece    2. Biography & Autobiography    3. Biography / Autobiography    4. Biography/Autobiography    5. Historical - General    6. Military   


Alexander the Great: His Armies and Campaigns 334-323 Bc (Men-at-arms S.)
by Nick Sekunda, John Warry
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 June, 1998)
list price: $24.95 -- our price: $16.47
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Book Review
"This book does not attempt a comprehensive treatment, it is offered as an introduction to Alexander's army" (Sekunda and Warry 7). Nick Sekunda and John Warry have written a very readable and informative book about Alexander The Great's military conquests. This book goes into great detail about Alexander's army, his commanders, the battles, and the aftermaths of the battles. The authors introduce the book in a very creative way by reporting about King Phillip's army and everything he established before Alexander took over the throne.
" This book examines the structure and organization of Alexander's world-beating army, and traces the course of his epic campaigns" (145). The book is efficient in illustrations and text about the daily life of being in his army. It also has involved depictions of his battles. The authors breakdown the elements of the battles starting with Alexander's opening moves, what happens during each of the battles, and also what follows each of the battles.
I see this book as biased for Alexander because the authors do not mention anything about Alexander having a [...] affair with one of his generals which is something I have read elsewhere. Leaving that out, in my opinion, is a good thing because this is a book about Alexander's military conquests not his romance life. The organization of this book is wonderfully crafted. The evidence seems to be supported throughout the book. The author also concludes the book properly. The book stayed very true to its purpose.
The book had few imperfections from what I interpreted. One of them being that it is to some extent verbose. It is also hard to keep track of the many different generals and kings listed in the book partially because their names are difficult to pronounce and because there are so many but I would have to consider myself reaching for a reason rather than it being abundantly clear. I give these authors a great deal of credit for all of the information they have provided in this book.
I have yet to read any other works about Alexander but after reading this I will be more apt do so. I would definitely recommend this book to others but with the ever changing technology and things available on the Internet, both good and bad, no book can keep up.

5-0 out of 5 stars there's a newer version
There is a newer version of this book. Warry, "Alexander the Great," also published by Osprey, Jan. 2001.

4-0 out of 5 stars nice battle maps
This book is the second and better half of "Alexander the Great : His Armies and Campaigns 334-323 BC" by Nick Sekunda, John Warry.It has very illustrative battle maps especially on the siege of Tyre. ... Read more

Isbn: 1855327929
Sales Rank: 540437
Subjects:  1. Ancient - Greece    2. History    3. History - Military / War    4. Military    5. Military - Other    6. Military History - Ancient    7. Military Science    8. Ancient Greece    9. Ancient World    10. European history: BCE to c 500 CE    11. Military tactics    12. War & defence operations   


Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army
by Donald Engels
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 February, 1981)
list price: $18.95 -- our price: $18.95
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Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Unique study in the logistics of Alexander's campaigns
This is an excellent, indeed unique, book on the logistical (and inter-related geographical and climatological issues) faced by Alexander in procuring and distributing the massive amounts of food, water and animal fodder needed to maintain the tens of thousands of combatants, support staff, camp followers and animals of the Macedonian army 'on any given day' --- armies (men and animals) quickly deteriorate and die without adequate food, water and fodder.

There are countless details given in this book concerning weights, measures, capacities, flows, speed, bottlenecks, distances, that you'll never think of any military campaign the same way again. The author calculates food, water and fodder requirements, and provisioning problems under varying circumstances and locations; the numbers are sometimes mind-boggling and the implications always fascinating. Understanding logistical demands and how Alexander overcame them is important to understanding the various campaigns.

This logistical study helps to clarify many important issues such as disputed routes (e.g. Turkey, Siwa and the Gedrosian) or why marches began when they did, went where they did, took the time they did, why forces were split and why the army lingered where it did and for how long. The author explains, for example, why Alexander delayed in Cilicia and his willingness to leave the passes behind him unblocked as he moved toward the Syrian gates --- the reason? Darius was simply unable to any longer maintain a huge stationary force in the plains above the coast since the area's carrying capacity for food, water and fodder would have been reduced to effectively zero and so Darius had no choice but to come down to engage Alexander in a setting much to Darius' disadvantage; and Alexander knew it. This episode is sometimes cited as a tactical mistake by Alexander but this book, by examining the issue from the point of view of logistics, shows why it wasn't.

What this book makes clear is that Alexander's success was not due only to his tactical genius, personal fighting skill and audacious bravery, and the discipline and skill of his army, but also to his genius at logistical planning, organization and forward intelligence. The book also gives credit to his superb 'General Staff' of commanding officers who must surely have participated in the planning but who also organized the actual requisitioning and transport of supplies and managed areas under control.

I just wish the author had written similar books on other campaigns.

5-0 out of 5 stars Logistics, can'tlive or win without it.
Logistics, probably one of least glorious part of military history get its just rewards in this short but superbly written book which in clear and determined way, showed why Alexander the Great earned that coin, "the Great". The book showed us nicely how well organized the logistic system of the Macedonian Army was and the hand of Alexander was everywhere.

But the lesson the book shows also reflects the reality of today as well. Even this modern age, how well a military forces performed in combat reflects directly on how well that military forces is supported logistically.

A mandatory reading material for any military historian and just about any professional soldiers out there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Still relevant!
In addition to the historical importance of this book, well noted by other reviewers, it is useful to military planners even today, and is already in the personal libraries of some; it should be more widely read. Logistics problems today, of course, are very different from those of Alexander's time, but some constant factors remain. Throughout the areas conquered by Alexander (and some from which he turned back), difficult terrain, predictable drought, severe winter weather, timing of annual floods, blocking of routes by ice and snow, fertile and infertile areas, and other such, have changed somewhat, but not all that much, since the time of Alexander. Alexander solved these problems quite differently from the way a modern army solves them, but solved they must be by any army campaigning anywhere in this whole vast area, and many of Alexander's solutions offer clues to what will be feasible or infeasible solutions today. So this book is as useful to a modern military planner as to a historian. ... Read more

Isbn: 0520042727
Sales Rank: 319520
Subjects:  1. Ancient - Greece    2. History - General History    3. Military - Strategy   


The Persian Boy
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (12 February, 1988)
list price: $14.00 -- our price: $11.20
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Reviews (58)

5-0 out of 5 stars Among the best books by Renault...
...and that, my friend, is saying something, because Mary Renault happens to be among the top writers of the 20th century, though her praises remain unsung in the Ivory Halls precisely because of her literary virtues. I love her prose for being crisp, concise, and clear; qualities which deny her laurels in academia because professors need cryptic symbolism to build thesises upon... a la James Joyce, ad nauseum.

Yet for all her readability, Mary Renault is not without elegance or depth; subtle in turns, and with an often ironic sense of humor. She is no prude and does not blush at human sexuality and homosexuality, but neither does she dwell in these areas. She is a fully integrated human being, something rare for a 20th century writer. So many of our writers have been mad, hung up, obsessed, in the closet, or prudish, and frankly most of their output can be submitted to the flames with no net loss for world literature. Not so with Mary Renault: she is timeless.

Her trilogy on Alexander the Great remains to be improved upon. So far she has no competitors, which is a taunting irony, considering she is a woman who wrote about a great military conqueror, ordinarily a masculine ideal. Alfredo Manfredi's feeble trilogy proved woefully inadequate to the task.

"The Persian Boy" is about the best you can hope for in regards to ancient historical novels. Our hero/anti-hero Gore Vidal gave it a good review too when it came out decades ago.

Alfredo Manfredi owes me $40 for ripping me off with his sorry, $45, half-buttock attempt at novel writing. I got a laughable $5 for his pathetic three book series on E-bay.

Today's authors need to sit in a classroom for several months and study Mary Renault's prose, paragraph by paragraph. I have yet to find any that can match her.

3-0 out of 5 stars Slow Moving Epic
This novel was perhaps a landmark at the time of its publication because of its home-erotic references to Alexander.Since then we have had much made of this aspect of his character, so i think the novelty has worn off a bit.Mary Renault is a gifted writer, and her prose is both picturesque and compelling, but this work is a hard go even for someone interested in Alexander!The story moves slowly.The narrator,a enuch who happens to be named Bagoas, provides a more sympathetic account of who this person really was.The real Bagoas was not killed by Darius, and he proved to be an evil, insidious influence for both Alexander and Darius.This Bagoas is full of longings and pathos, which gets really tiring after a while.Also, his/her longings for sex with Alexander, no matter how tastefully done, can be somewhat revolting to some readers.The constant references to his wearing sexy loin-clothes and long hair to perform errotic male dances is both annoying and disquesting at the same time!

What this novel does show was how wide and perverse sexual habbits were at this time, and how women often featured very little in them! At least in the circles of the ruling elites.We do get some inferences of Alexander's character, which offer some interest, and this can be what makes good historical fiction worthwhile if it paints a convincing portrait of a famous person and his time.Still, no matter how you slice it this is slow, tedious read.This book is probably more suited to gay readers than those really interested in Alexander's life and times.For me Alexander has so many more fascinating aspects to his career besides just his sexual habbits which seem to be the real interest for the recent fascination in him lately.The equally slow moving Oliver Stone epic marches at about the same tedious pace as this novel.I'll bet the producers read it at their bedside.

3-0 out of 5 stars ... But...?
I had a hard time with this novel. To warn, I am extremely Hephaestion-biased. I love him to death. It took me a long time to pick "The Persian Boy" up at all because I felt like I was cheating. (silly, no?) Bagoas has his moments too and certainly this book stays true to his point-of-view. I knew that it would, being called "The Persian Boy," but I wish it hadn't. Many things that were in my opinion very important were glossed over due to his limited POV. As another reviewer said, I wish there was a parallel from Hephaestian's POV or that the point-of-view shifted from character to character the way "Fire From Heaven" did - I found it a much more effective, well-rounded story. As for Bagoas himself, I too am fascinated by the idea of him... of what it must have been like to live his life, the ups and considerable downs of it. And I suppose that that was what so intrigued Ms. Renault into wanting to write "The Persian Boy" to begin with. So for what it is, "The Persian Boy" is very good - certainly extremely well-written and researched. But it left me wanting so much more than I knew it would be able to give me. So for people wanting to read a historical novel from a next-to-the-fly-on-the-wall POV, this would be it. And for those of you looking for a book that makes Bagoas come alive, this would definately be it, but if you've gotten that far, you probably already know that... ... Read more

Isbn: 0394751019
Sales Rank: 9345
Subjects:  1. 356-323 B.C    2. Alexander,    3. Eunuchs    4. Fiction    5. Fiction - Historical    6. Generals    7. Greece    8. Historical - General    9. Kings and rulers    10. the Great,    11. Alexander    12. Fiction / Historical   


Fire from Heaven
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (12 February, 1977)
list price: $12.00 -- our price: $12.00
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Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
I keep this one by my bedside.When I need something familiar and comfortable to read, this is it!

Perhaps Renault's crowning achievement, Fire from Heaven is the story of Alexander's life from age four until he is crowned king at the age of 20.If there ever was a 'golden child', Renault's Alexander is him.I think that you probably will get a good feel for what the pro-Alexander people feel about him when you read the book.

BTW: The Alexander Movie from Oliver Stone was not that bad at all.

5-0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down!
I loved this book! It's just beautiful! I laughed, I cried... I could not put it down - literally. It took me 5 days to read this, during finals week at college. Every second I was not taking a test, sleeping or studying, I was reading this book... on the way to class, while eating, sitting at traffic lights -- I slept with it under my pillow! It's an amazing read. But then, I adore Alexander the Great. If you do, I'm sure you'll love this book. If you don't, but you like historical fiction, Ancient Greece or the like, you'll still enjoy it, I'm sure. Ms. Renault's style is a bit tricky at times and there are a few typos in this edition. And perhaps Ms. Renault doesn't show us all she should, but "Fire From Heaven" is still amazing. I highly recommend it!

5-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, lush and completely irresistable novel ...
Mary Renualt's tale of the youth and rise to power of Alexander the Great (the first of an amazing trilogy) is not to be missed.The characters are deliciously complicated, as decisively drawn as they are interesting to follow, and her intuition in exploring their desires and motivations is a joy.Renault's descriptions of customs, places and events are superb and effortless, her prose flawless.The entire book is more like a first-hand account than a novel, really.She has obviously researched her subject exhaustingly, but completely avoids the downfall of many historical fiction authors -- showing off their knowledge of the facts and/or oppressing the reader with their minutae while sacrificing the drama of the story.Renault weaves her tale with such skill that you can never quite tell where fact ends and fiction begins.Her interpretation of what is known of Alexander hits the mark on every page, and none of the dramatic license she takes rings false or feels contrived.I try not to believe anyone's hype until I can make my own judgement, and Mary Renault has proven herself an incredible talent beyond her impressive reputation. ... Read more

Isbn: 0394722914
Sales Rank: 106278
Subjects:  1. Fiction    2. Fiction - Historical    3. Generals    4. Historical - General    5. Kings and rulers    6. Literary    7. Romance - Historical    8. Romance: Historical    9. Alexander    10. Fiction / Literary    11. Philip   


In the Footsteps of Alexander The Great: A Journey from Greece to Asia
by Michael Wood
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (01 November, 1997)
list price: $29.95
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Editorial Review

Intrepid explorer in search of the past, British journalist Michael Wood follows the path of Alexander the Great and his army from Macedonia to the Himalayas and beyond in the fourth century B.C. Always one for adventures to match those of his heroes, Wood takes his readers over harsh deserts and snow-clogged passes, stopping off at interesting places along the way: a Zoroastrian temple in Iran, for instance, where we learn that Alexander is regarded as a devil and called Iskander Gujaste, Alexander the Accursed. Devil or no, Wood allows us to appreciate Alexander for the daring of his enterprise: his conquest of southwestern Asia occupied 22,000 miles and two decades. ... Read more

Reviews (21)

3-0 out of 5 stars Has Some Valuable Stories From The Modern-Day Spots.
The story of Alexander The Great remains just as relevant today as it did when the "Alexander Romance" was published many centuries ago, consider that many of the areas he conquered such as Iraq and Iran are still international hot spots today when it comes to the current state of the world. Michael Wood's "In The Footsteps Of Alexander The Great" is an entertaining read because it plays like a cultural travelogue, documenting how the story of Alexander is still passed down from generation to generation in Greece and the Middle East. In some places he is a heroe, in others a ruthless barbarian, even a devil. Woods writes about his journey down Alexander's trek with vivid details, providing fascinating insights into other corners of the globe and the customs found therein. For readers who enjoy learning and reading about other countries and their traditions this will prove to be a fascinating trip. However, the only thing that makes Woods' book not the gem it should be is that in his actual writing of Alexander's history he subscribes to much of what has already been dismissed as propaganda by historians like Robin Lane Fox and authors like Mary Renault. It is no surprise that since Woods is after all making a TV program here, he indulges in the more wild, ear-catching legends surrounding Alexander such as the burning of a temple for the sake of doing something fun when drunk (eventhough Alexander, as was common in Macedon and Greece, enjoyed wine to excessive lengths) and the killing of Betis by dragging him from a chariot to imitate Achilles (this is ridiculous considering Alexander always honored opponents who fought bravely). Woods apparently likes using information gathered from writers like Cleitarchus, who is notorious for writing fictitous accounts with exaggerated numbers, events and even Socrates made fun of the guy for his flights of fancy. Luckily Woods is not writing a biography here but an account of the current state of the lands Alexander conquered and it's peoples. As a journey through these areas and as a look at how potent the image and story of Alexander are today there is no better book. But for an actual reading of the life and times of Alexander The Great, I recommend "Alexander The Great" by Robin Lane Fox and "The Nature Of Alexander" by Mary Renault, two others who write with a more serious sense of scholarship.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well conceived, with beautiful photographs
I'll keep this as brief as possible. The book is a well conceived mixture of the history Alexander the Great's Asian conquests and the story of author Michael Wood's quest to follow Alexander's voyage throughout Asia and film it all for a BBC miniseries. He not only draws on the traditional sources such as Arrian and Plutarch, but also on local legends in the areas Alexander captured. The photographs are beautiful, and the maps help give a geographical perspective to the reader. An easy, interesting read, the book can be read in one evening by devoting full attention to the book.
The only criticism I have is one that is unavoidable by Wood. There are parts that tend to drag a bit, by giving casualty estimates and exact military strategies that would most likely not appeal to the average reader. The best aspect, however, is how Michael Wood gives insight to a brutal, raging alcoholic treated all too kindly by Arrian. It is worth the money to someone genuinely interested in history, but don't waste your time if you're not willing to give the attention this book deserves.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Fractured but Recognizable Alexander
Why did Alexander and his men risk their lives across so many continents and seas to mingle with the exotic peoples of Africa and Asia? The question intrigues most of us but British journalist and filmmaker Michael Wood takes a more active approach by brushing aside the texts and retracing Alexander's itinerary with a BBC camera crew. Illustrious scholars like Sir Aurel Stein had done it before, albeit for only a part of the route, but unattended by any Media hype. Another Englishman, Thomas Coryat (AD 1616), thought he had seen relics of Alexander in India. He was greatly impressed by a magnificent (Asokan) pillar and presumed that it must have been erected by Alexander the Great 'in token of his victorie' over Porus. Wood does not know that Coryat was right, that the Delhi-Topra Pillar was indeed brought from the Beas area where Alexander had come.

Wood's overflowing energy leaves us stunned - he retraces Alexander's journey by car, on horseback and camel, by boat, and at times on foot, yet his hyperbole often betrays a rather obtuse prognosis. He naively accepts the negative views of some Greeks and of the people conquered by Alexander but remains suspicious of any pro-Alexander view, labelling these as propaganda. Ignoring the Sanskrit or Pali sources, he tries to reconstruct Alexander using only the Greek and Roman texts. He rightly says "Alexander's conquest of most of the known world was a crucial turning point in history which opened up contacts between Europe and Asia, paved the way for the Roman Empire and the spread of Islam, and unleashed astonishing historical energies that continue to affect the world today", but misses probably the most important component - Buddhism. Toynbee noted the close links between Buddhism and Hellenism and Tarn gave the clue that the Brahmans(the priestly party opposed to the Buddhists) always fought with Alexander. Moreover wood misses that the real name of Calanus, Alexander's Guru, was Sphines which is the same as Aspines or Asvaghosa, the great Buddhist scholar. As Coryat realized, some of the Asokan pillars were in fact altars of Alexander. Wood has not understood why Plutarch wrote that Alexander's altars were considered to be sacred even by the Mauryas.

Ignoring the usual Dionysius-Semiramis stories Wood boldy ponders why Alexander took the most dangerous route through Gedrosia, suffering huge casualties (both civilian and military) from lack of water, food, and the extreme heat. He plays with the theory that Alexander may have been exploring whether cities could be founded along the coastline for trade between the India and the Persian Gulf. The simple answer here is that Alexander was chasing the mighty Moeris who was in fact Chandragupta Maurya of Prasii ([another website]). Wood does not even dream that part of the Gulf area in those days could have been part of India. Why did Alexander celebrate his victory over the Indians at Kahnuj?

Interestingly, although Wood does not recognize Moeris, unlike most modern writers and even Tarn, he suspects that both Hephaistion and Alexander may have been poisoned by a group of Alexander's 'exasperated and disillusioned' senior officers (p. 230). He describes a Zoroastrian temple in Iran where he learns that Alexander is regarded as a devil and called Iskander Gujaste but does not realize that Alexander's enemies united under an anti-Buddhist Zoroastrian nationalist platform. The successes of both Perdiccas and Seleucus were due to the backing they got from Zoroastrian nationalists.

Although Wood fails at the end to piece together a convincing real life Alexander, the book remains enjoyable on the whole. ... Read more

Isbn: 0520213076
Subjects:  1. 20th Century Description And Travel    2. Ancient - Greece    3. Ancient Greece - History    4. Asia    5. Description and travel    6. Earth Sciences - Geography    7. General    8. Historic sites    9. History - General History    10. History: World    11. Military    12. Science    13. Alexander    14. Journeys    15. Wood, Michael   

Alexander: The Conqueror: The Epic Story of the Warrior King
by Eugene N. Borza, Laura Foreman
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (17 August, 2004)
list price: $35.00 -- our price: $14.00
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Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars ignore it!
1)ancient macedonians worshiped the greek gods.There is no
evidence whatsoever in books written from Fox,Fuller,Green etc
of a "makedonian" god!
2)Alexandros and Philipos are greek names.If so-called "professors" like Gandeto,Borza cannot explain once and for all why they beared greek names then they are real amateurs.
(at least someone provide us with their "makedonian" names...!)
3)Alexander cultivated the greek culture in his entire empire.
This age is called the hellenistic period not the "Makedonian"
period.Why?I think it is obvious.
4)There is no book whatsoever written by a decent historian
in the 19th century claiming that the ancient macedonians where not greek.This whole nonesence whas a conspiracy from Tito to
claim greek teritory.This was aknowledged even from the NATO allies!
5)the so called "MaKedonians" have slavic origins.They
arrived almost 700 years after Alexander's death!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Macedonian Specialist
Eugene Borza is a specialist in ancient Macedonian studies and his latest work is a testimony to that. He is of the majority of scholars who now reject the claims that Macedonians were Greek in light of the ever growing evidence to support the fact that the ancient Macedonian population was a distinct ethnic group in the Balkans.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great all around book-not too deep and outstanding photos
I have been studying/collecting books on Alexander for many years and this one ranks up there as one of my favorites. I was not sure what to expect from this book since there were no customer reviews so I took a chance and got lucky.The book is not too thick and is divided into interesting chapters/topics.Most of the information covered is standard Alexander lore but hidden throughout are tasty nuggets of little known facts about Alexander and his life.Details on military exploits and the battles seems a bit light but I do not think that the author planned to cover these like a military textbook.One can always pick up Green's classic or many other options for these details.
What really makes this book stand out are the photos.This book is PACKED full of gorgeous photographs and illustrations that I have never seen before in any book on Alexander.Due to the current situation in the Middle East few Westerners will ever see the sites of Persia and Afghanistan. This book gives one the chance to catch a glimpse of the lands Alexander added to his kingdom.I have been to Greece a few times and the pictures made me long for another trip to the Agean in the near future.The only negative I can find with the book is the inclusion of a comment/sticker from Oliver Stone.Doing a movie on Alexander does not make one an expert. I am sure this was done because of his upcoming movie on Alexander the Great.Hollywood has already ruined a classic tale with "Troy".Let us hope that Stone's production will not repeat this.Buy this Book!
Hannibal ... Read more

Isbn: 0306812932
Sales Rank: 268808
Subjects:  1. 356-323 B.C    2. Alexander,    3. Ancient - Greece    4. Ancient - Rome    5. Ancient Greece - History    6. Biography    7. Generals    8. Greece    9. Historical - General    10. History    11. History - General History    12. History: World    13. Macedonian Expansion, 359-323 B.C    14. the Great,   


Alexander the Great's Art of Strategy: The Timeless Leadership Lessons of History's Greatest Empire Builder
by Partha Sarathi Bose, Partha Bose
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (14 April, 2003)
list price: $25.00
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Reviews (17)

1-0 out of 5 stars Good book if you like fiction
The people rating this high must be paid to do so.It's just riddled with historical inaccuracy ... Fuller's book on this topic is SO much better that I'm still kicking myself for buying this.

Just because I made the mistake doesn't mean you have to.

1-0 out of 5 stars mediocre
I cannot believe the high marks for this book. This book purports to be a management manual and a historical view of Alexander's life. It is quite mediocre on both fronts. The historical side is full of inaccuracies and the management side is far too simplistic to have any real value. If one is interested in reading about Alexander's military genius I would recommend The Generalship of Alexander the Great J.F.C. FULLER

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for strategists & leaders
The flow of this book is in alignment with the thought process of business executives. The USP of this book is it has historical pieces coupled along with strong analysis to churn out wisdom for leaders as well as strategists in every sphere.

May be a few historical points are not spot on in this book. However, the readers of this book should not be in pursuit of history but wisdom acquisition from the life of the greatest conqueror of all time, Alexander the Great, who never lost a war.

This book makes a close analysis into what made Alexander so special. Apart from being gifted with special traits of a natural leader, Alexander was able to make huge magnitude of impact during his short life due to his forward thinking father, Philips of Macedonian. Aristotle, mentor of Alexander, helped him develop a strong analytic framework of mind and appreciation for looking at issues from various perspectives. The book mentions that the "think global act local" approach was first promulgated by Alexander. As one reads on, one will understand how and why many leaders / strategists (in various spheres) over the centuries have been inspired by Alexander the Great.
... Read more

Isbn: 159240006X
Sales Rank: 332954
Subjects:  1. 356-323 B.C    2. Alexander,    3. Business & Economics    4. Business / Economics / Finance    5. Business/Economics    6. Leadership    7. Strategic Planning    8. Structural Adjustment    9. the Great,    10. Alexander   

The Death of Alexander the Great: What - or - Who Really Killed the Young Conqueror of the Known World?
by Paul Doherty, P. C. Doherty
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (01 July, 2004)
list price: $25.00 -- our price: $15.75
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Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars fiction stranger than fact
Thought provoking. Green's iconoclastic 1973 work set out to show us Alexander's (A.) darker side, Doherty finishes it. Doherty has set out his stall to prove A. was assassinated and nothing it is going to get in the way. It's a well researched work, a fusion of scholarly argument and awkward conclusions, oversimplification and scurrilous use of sources- dismissing them as unreliable at times or quoting them verbatim when it suits his case. His denigration of Plutarch almost seems personal. The use of terms such as 'its is obvious' or `the conclusion is inevitable' try to lure us into easy conclusions against all evidence which can perhaps be dismissed as author enthusiasm. There plenty of hyperbole and there are some inaccuracies. Antigonus for example is referred to as an `eye-witness' present at the time of Alexander's. He has Alexander reciting from Euripides `Andromache' (much quoted from by Doherty) at the ill-fated `comus' when it should have been `Andromeda'. The book ultimately decides it's Ptolemy, helped by the fact that the forged `journal `mentions the cult of Serapis started by Ptolemy. Hardly conclusive. From there on in its downhill for Ptolemy. This is a clever book, if you let yourself be taken. What it does provide is good insight into source problems if you ignore Doherty's `Ephippus- like' propaganda. What is perplexing is that this is extremely well researched with all the right source references and yet heads off on uncomfortable conclusions Yet for all that it remains a thought provoking read. It provides clear insights into the political intrigues and power-plays of the time. But as a work definitively attempting to pinpoint an assassin, it doesn't work. But an essential read for any Alexander scholar. ... Read more

Isbn: 0786713402
Sales Rank: 235985
Subjects:  1. 356-323 B.C    2. Alexander,    3. Ancient - Greece    4. Ancient Greece - History    5. Biography    6. Greece    7. History    8. History & Theory - General    9. History - General History    10. History: World    11. Kings and rulers    12. the Great,   


The Wars of Alexander the Great
by Waldemar Heckel
Paperback (01 August, 2002)
list price: $14.95 -- our price: $10.17
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Isbn: 1841764736
Sales Rank: 475358
Subjects:  1. Ancient - Greece    2. Ancient Greece - History    3. History    4. History - Military / War    5. History: World    6. Military - General    7. Military - Other    8. Military History - Ancient   


Alexander the Great: Son of the Gods
by Alan Fildes, Joann Fletcher
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (01 September, 2002)
list price: $24.95
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Best Seller
This is a fantastic book and certain gives a valuable insite into Alexander the Great and Ancient Greece.You can tell from the level of detail within the book that the authors have tried to give the read as much information about Alexander and his life as one of the worlds greatest conquers.

A must read!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Alexander -- A Soldier's Soldier
Alexander was, first and foremost, a soldier's soldier.No armchair general, he; he led from the front, and this during an age of warfare when being "in front" was hazardous in the extreme.He was, of course, a brilliant strategist and tactician, but he never forgot his soldiers who carried the fight to his enemy.When they were on campaign, he shared their lot -- food, quarters, hardships, and all -- entirely.And, for this, they gave him their undying loyalty.Discipline, courage, fortitude, vision -- these, and many more -- are the characteristics that made Alexander III truly great.

This book captures the sense of Alexander, his relationships and his achievements extremely well.Never ponderous, it nevertheless completely describes his singular achievements.This is also a very "visual" reading experience.The illustrations, maps and photographs complement the reading and enhance the reader's understanding very well.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. ... Read more

Isbn: 0892366788
Sales Rank: 404985
Subjects:  1. 356-323 B.C    2. Alexander,    3. Ancient - Greece    4. Ancient Greece - History    5. Biography    6. Biography & Autobiography    7. Biography / Autobiography    8. Biography/Autobiography    9. Generals    10. Greece    11. Historical - General    12. History    13. Macedonian Expansion, 359-323 B.C    14. Military    15. the Great,   

In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great
Director: David Wallace (II)
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
VHS Tape (04 May, 1998)
list price: $29.98
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Editorial Review

British filmmaker Michael Wood embarks on an idiosyncratic journey of 20,000 miles tracing the expedition of Alexander the Great in this captivating documentary.Relying on the words of Greek and Roman historians, Wood sought to follow Alexander's route of world conquest as closely as possible, and it is simply amazing how much folklore about the great general he is able to pick up on the way. Beginning in Greece and proceeding through 16 countries, including Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, and India, Wood listens intently to local storytellers who are still passing down the legends of Alexander.In one fascinating segment, Wood is barred from entering Iraq, but he is able to view the terrain on which Alexander's troops faced the Persians by scanning the radar screens of an American AWACS plane patrolling high above. In the course of his travels, Wood passes through four war zones and he notes that strategic regions of Alexander's day are still "on the fault lines of history."This is a lengthy production, clocking in at almost four hours, but the relaxed pace is a virtue, as Woods and the people he meets along the way, from local storytellers to noted historians, pass along an amazing array of historical knowledge.Lovers of history will find this documentary to be a joy and may well find themselves savoring every mile of Alexander's great journey.--Robert J. McNamara ... Read more


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Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars living history
This is one of the best documentaries I have seen, and certainly the best on Alexander.Michael Wood makes his subject come alive.Add to that, he knows his stuff and presents it in a way that is both accurate and engaging.The most interesting aspect of this documentary is the way he shows how the memory of Alexander remains alive in the folf memory of the people in the lands that Alexander conquered.From the perspective of a North American here on the West Coast where history is measured in a dozen or so decades, it's incredible to see bards singing in tavernas singing of the deeds of Alexander that are still as real in the minds of the people as if it happened yesterday.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Travelogue
This is a splendid travleogue of Alexander's journey of conquest.Little is said however concerning his early years in Greece and his development under his father King Philip. Nothing is shown concerning his early campaigns in Greece, his sacking of Thebes and his pivotal part in the battle of Chronea in 338 BC.The first major battle at the Granicusin 332BC after landing at the Hellespoint is also skipped over for some reason.Despite these failings, Michael Wood provides a fascinating and energetic account of Alexander's route of conquest.His enthusiam for the topic is evident throughout, and many fascinating people and places are shown. His use of the primary sources of Alexander make for interesting comparisons concerning description and reality.To read what old sources say, and to try and make sense of them by traveling to see for oneself is one of the most compelling aspects of historical travel.

The folklore and legends of Alexander in the various regions of the East that he passed through becomes evident in watching this work.This is more a travelers history of Alexander.Those desiring some insight into his battles may be somewhat disappointed here.In my opinion more attention could have been given to this aspect of Alexander's career.His generalship is one of the most concrete elements we have concerning his style of leadership and deserves greater attention here.His two earlier battles as noted above are skipped over, and even Issus, Gaugamela and Hydaspes receive only scant mention.Still, I can't fault this work totally for these omissions.What we have is still an epic account of his travels and how these places and people appear today.

One comes away from viewing this travelogue with a new respect for Alexander's sheer force of will to conquer so many varied regions and peoples.Nothing truly daunted him, and his legacy lives on vividly in the East, even if it may not be the most accurate view of him.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Video is Fantastic
I watched this when it was first run on PBS.What a fantastic, interesting movie.The best part was watching the modern day travel that Alexander had to go through that in his day where now it's several different countries.You don't get up and move while watching this and you learn so much more than just history! ... Read more

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