ALEXANDER THE GREAT BIOGRAPHY BOOK
Creating a top ten list for books on Alexander the Great is not easy, since few and more captivating historical presentation on one of history's great figures. Alexander the Great book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. In the first authoritative biography of Alexander the Great wr. Editorial Reviews. From Booklist. Even before Alexander's death, in BCE, his legend had accelerated, aided considerably by his highly effective skills of.
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In the first authoritative biography of Alexander the Great written for a general audience in a generation, classicist and historian Philip Freeman tells the. "You may wonder," said Arrian in his introduction to his biography "why I am writing another book on Alexander the Great when there have. Alexander of Macedon B.C.: A Historical Biography, by Peter Green. I couldn't put it down until turning the last page. This book is a bit.
At the Granicus River near the Hellespont he met and defeated a Persian force and moved on to take Miletus and Halicarnassus. For the first time Persia faced a united Greece, and Alexander saw himself as the spreader of Panhellenic ideals.
Alexander, triumphant, now envisioned conquest of the whole of the Persian Empire. It took him nearly a year to reduce Tyre and Gaza, and in , in full command of Syria, he entered Egypt. There he met no resistance. When he went to the oasis of Amon he was acknowledged as the son of Amon-Ra, and this may have contributed to a conviction of his own divinity.
In the winter he founded Alexandria, perhaps the greatest monument to his name, and in the spring of he returned to Syria, then went to Mesopotamia where he met Darius again in the battle of Guagamela. The battle was hard, but Alexander was victorious. He marched S to Babylon, then went to Susa and on to Persepolis, where he burned the palaces of the Persians and looted the city. He was now the visible ruler of the Persian Empire, pursuing the fugitive Darius to Ecbatana, which submitted in , and on to Bactria.
There the satrap Bessus, a cousin of Darius, had the Persian king murdered and declared himself king. Alexander went on through Bactria and captured and executed Bessus. He was now in the regions beyond the Oxus River the present-day Amu Darya , and his men were beginning to show dissatisfaction.
In a conspiracy against Alexander was said to implicate the son of one of his generals, Parmenion ; Alexander not only executed the son but also put the innocent Parmenion to death. This act and other instances of his harshness further alienated the soldiers, who disliked Alexander's assuming Persian dress and the manner of a despot. Nevertheless Alexander conquered all of Bactria and Sogdiana after hard fighting and then went on from what is today Afghanistan into N India.
Some of the princes there received him favorably, but at the Hydaspes the present-day Jhelum River he met and defeated an army under Porus. He overran the Punjab, but there his men would go no farther.
The Greatest of Them All
Cantor's judgments of certain of Alexander's other biographers are especially unsatisfactory. In Cantor's view, Arrian's great work amounts to little more than a pastiche of previous authors; among modern writers, Robin Lane Fox's monumental biography is dismissed as neo-Victorian hero-worship. Anyone with an interest in the Hellenistic world in general and Alexander in particular should begin their studies elsewhere. Once again Mr.
Cantor has delivered in one of his works and again some haters on these reviews do not grant him the respect he deserves in regards to his works. This is a brief survey of Alexander, it was not meant to be an extensive biography. It is a shame that Mr. Cantor is no longer with us to further expand our horizons on subjects that are difficult to comprehend and learn when sitting in a college course.
Hardcover Verified Purchase. This book is a gem, in large because the analysis of the "greatness" of Alexander in the fifth and closing chapter is designed to generate thought, debate and ideas for every student of history.
Alexander and Achilles were heroic; Caesar and Arthur were innovators; Lincoln and Churchill gave words to enhance the decency of great nations. Lincoln, to cite an example, did not invent democracy in America.
However, when he defined democracy as government "of the people, by the people, for the people", he greatly sharpened and enhanced already existing attitudes. Alexander did the same in his time; he did not invent war, but he set an ideal seldom matched and thus established the warrior ideal for much of the Mediterannean. King Arthur does the same with his round table; Churchill gives credit to the British people for stopping Hitler.
Now, consider George Bush with his Texas swagger and flight suit while strutting across the deck of an aircraft carrier to announce "Mission Accomplished" as if he were a warrior.
More books from this author: Philip Freeman
Alexander, in contrast to the coddled and well-protected life of Bush, survived numerous serious wounds acquired while leading his troops from the front. Whether it's Bush or Clinton or Reagan, there's a vast difference between Alexander and the perspiration and spin of today's leaders. As Canton aptly shows, it's why "the Great" title is retired.
Intended or not, there are numerous subtle parallels between ancient and modern events in the Near and Middle Easts. Alexander was successful because he responded immediately and brilliantly to local events rather than try to rule from afar; instead of being an ideologue, he worshipped every God he met along the route of his conquests. Because he was handicapped by "faulty intelligence," when he reached Afghanistan and India he realized it was time to listen to his troops, then "cut and run".
To quote Cantor, "One of the old soldiers, a man named Coenis. Instead of trying to stay the course, Cantor says "Alexander sulked for two days but then tried to find a way to make this defeat appear to be a victory.
Perhaps that is why there are no modern Alexanders; today we tend to look at his heroism, courage, strength and vision but overlook his ability to sulk. It's a masterful biography, not merely because of what it says about Alexander but also for what it teaches us about ourselves. Audio CD Verified Purchase.
The man who wrote this work was an eminently able scholar. This short work gives a concise interpretation of the evidence we have on Alexander with able insights that will enhance the general readers insight and probably, for whatever reason, tick off the more advanced reader who is likely looking for more of the same old same old.
You know, self confirmation. Cantor did know how to make history speak to the present. No dust here.
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As for the production quality and the reader, excellent. Very well pleased. Thanks--Good work. The book was just as described. Great find. Shipped promptly and worth the money.
This is the worst book ever written on Alexander. There are historical inaccuracies on nearly every page. Heresay and universally discounted legend are presented uncritically alongside historically accepted fact.
See all 28 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. The author largely sticks to what is known of Alexander, and when there are competing sources, gives a detailed analysis and conclusion of what the most likely outcome was. Helpfully, the author details Alexander's fighting style, weapons, and army companies near the start.
This backg Not your average biography.
This background allowed a greater understanding of the brilliance behind Alexander's strategy. I doubt there's a more detailed book on Alexander out there. If you can keep the names and places straight, and not get lost in the digressions, this is the authoritative book on Alexander the Great.
Although I had to slog through some portions, I'd recommend it to anyone interested in classical history, or curious about the man behind the legend.
DNF for now. View all 3 comments. Jan 20, Cliff Ward rated it it was amazing. Robin Lane Fox has the very rare talent of epic storyteller, yet combined with a lifetime of dedication to historical studies. In the case of the subject of this book, Alexander the Great happens to be his most studied and focused area.
The descriptions of Alexander's early life, the political intrigues of the Macedonian court, his tutoring by Aristotle, and his fascination with Achilles and the stories of Homer all shine through. When we get into the 'revenge' that Macedons and Greeks need to pa Robin Lane Fox has the very rare talent of epic storyteller, yet combined with a lifetime of dedication to historical studies.
When we get into the 'revenge' that Macedons and Greeks need to pay the Persians, the story is fast running and vivid. We can almost feel we are there on those dusty plains with Alexander charging on his famous horse Bucephalus, the steady march of the infantry with their porcupine formations, and the utter disbelief of the the Persian king Darius as he needs to turn his golden chariot around and flee the battlefield.
Constantly the authors breath and depth of knowledge shines through and his strong intention to be impartial to the opposing sides bearing in mind only Greek derived sources exist. Alexander the warrior, Alexander the politician, Alexander the God, just about every aspect of his life is covered. Oh, but the maps at least in the paperback are terrible! It hardly matters in the modern day of the internet though and I found I wanted to constantly look up and find other sources amid the mountain of new facts I was discovering!
Alexander is surely the only world-conquering hero who remains an attractive personality even under the close and fair minded scrutiny of a genius like Lane-Fox.
The ruthlessness, the purges, murderous fits of drunken temper, the war crimes by today's standards - none are glossed over. But the mesmeric power of his personality still exerts a fascination, even at this distance in time.
Perhaps it is because one senses Alexander's love for those who served with him and sometimes even those he c Alexander is surely the only world-conquering hero who remains an attractive personality even under the close and fair minded scrutiny of a genius like Lane-Fox. Perhaps it is because one senses Alexander's love for those who served with him and sometimes even those he conquered was genuine.
Bonaparte never shed tears of remorse for those who died in his cause, and was in every point of comparison a far lesser man than Alexander. I found this a profoundly moving and fascinating book, but it is not the one to go to first.
It presumes a reasonable grounding in the ancient world, and it is certainly not the kind of book you can skim or read quickly: Oct 25, ActionScientist rated it it was amazing.
Having attended a private Christian church school, people have had occasion to ask me whether I am a Christian or not. My current response is along these lines: One of the most interesting things I learned from the book was the age of many in his army by the end their incredible journey and giant adventure.. It wasn't about Alexander, but rather the incredible strength and endurance of the individuals making up that Only Once Ever army.
As a queen bee, he was only as good as his hive. All that the historian can rely on is material written long after Alexander's death, and much of it biased. Despite this, Lane Fox does his best to try to separate the wheat from the chaff in order to produce a plausible biography of one of the world's military and political geniuses.
This wonderfully written book traces Alexander's life from Macedonia to India and back to Babylon. It is highly readable, and a great achievement. Now, I shall tackle Napoleon Bonaparte's life! Un saggio equilibrato e ben fondato, scritto in maniera vivace e accattivante. Jun 12, Bruce rated it really liked it.
This is a strong biography, interesting in itself and also essential to understanding 4th century BC classical history. The Hellenistic Age makes little sense without knowledge of who Alexander was and what he did. Fox does a good job in aiding one's understanding. The greatest conqueror of the Ancient World 31 March My sister bought me this book for Christmas once since she discovered that I liked the Ancient Greek world, though I must admit that this period is a little later than what I generally am interested in.
However my sister is an accountant so she is not to know detailed specifics of my interests in the Ancient Greek world and that my interest generally begins to wane after the death of Socrates. This is not an absolute truth though as during The greatest conqueror of the Ancient World 31 March My sister bought me this book for Christmas once since she discovered that I liked the Ancient Greek world, though I must admit that this period is a little later than what I generally am interested in.
This is not an absolute truth though as during this intervening period we see the rise and decline of the Hellenistic society. Alexander the Great is a very important person in the development of the Western World. He is one of the very few people that have earned the moniker 'the Great' though one should not be too proud of such a moniker. Granted there was Frederick the Great of Prussia, who began the road that led Germany to become a superpower at the turn of the 20th Century, but there is also Herod the Great.
I once asked somebody why he was earned the moniker 'The Great' when the most famous thing that he did was slaughter all of the children under the age of 2 in the region of Bethlehem. There were a few reasons, but as far as I am concerned they really do not cover up the fact that this man killed babies.
However, we are looking at Alexander and not Herod. Alexander's claim to fame, as I hope all of you are aware of, is that he pretty much conquered the Middle East in a very short space of time. Okay Hitler did the same with Europe, but the difference was that Hitler had tanks and planes, whereas Alexander was limited to horses and chariots. There was no real advanced technology with Alexander, but what there was was a change in the nature of military forces and the tactics that he used.
One of the differences was that Alexander had developed a standing army. This was rather new in this period. While other powers, such as Persia, could raise a large army, they were not professional soldiers.
Many of them were conscripts that were taken from their lands, given weapons, and told to fight. The same concept existed in Greece, and even with the city of Sparta the nature of the army was the same: However Alexander's revolution actually, it was his father Phillip's was to create the professional soldier.
In by creating the professional soldier he could be assured not only that his army would be properly trained but he did not have to worry about soldiers deserting come spring time to return home to plant their crops.
Fox is quite a good author, and after reading this book, when I found another book he had written The Classical World I immediately bought it and moved it to the top of my reading list. I have tried a number of books that novelise ancient events, and in many cases have not been too thrilled with them. A third one I read was about the first Punic War.
However while the history was interesting, I could not find myself getting immersed in the story.
However Fox writes as an academic, outlining the historical beliefs of the period, and drawing together a story that way. In many ways it is a story outlining the conquests of Alexander and exploring many of the themes behind it and exploring the character of the conqueror. Alexander had very big ambitions, but his conquests in many ways were little more than a continuation of the Persian Wars that began with the Ionian Revolt thought it is funny that Anatolia is referred to as Ionia when in reality Ionia is on the other side of Greece near the Adriatic Sea — at least according to the Lonely Planet guide.
While there was quite a long interlude between the defeat at Platea and the conquest of Alexander, there was always a tension between the two powers. Greece had stood up to and defeated the Persians, and while the Persians had backed off somewhat, there was always that ongoing influence in Greek affairs. In a way that threat had to be put out of the way for good and thus instead of simply defending the Greek civilisation from Persian incursions, Alexander went out to put an end to the threat for good.
However, one could also consider that it was a lust for conquest. Phillip of Macedon, Alexander's father, had united Greece, but was assassinated. Alexander took the throne, consolidated his kingdom, and then went out as a conqueror to conquer.
However he went east, not west but then I have already explained the reason behind that. Sometimes there is speculation as to what would have come about if he went west, but he didn't, so we do not need to worry and anyway that was never going to happen because Alexander did not have a problem with Rome.
What Alexander's conquests did was to spread the Greek culture across the Middle East, and this also opened up Europe to the exotic realms beyond the desert, such as India. Even today Alexander is held in high regard among the people of Afghanistan. India became a part of the known world and the Greek language became the universal language. In another way Alexander laid the foundations for another conqueror, Rome, to come and take over, which in turn laid the foundations for the spread of Christianity.
In doing so, Greek became the lingua franca of the region, and resulted in the New Testament being written in the language. Sep 27, Mac rated it it was amazing. The best account of Alexander. Oct 28, Sarah rated it really liked it.
It's taken me months to get through this -- it's a very dense book, with all the controversies worked out on the page in front of you and nothing pat. So having come to the finish I do feel rather like I've been to the ends of the earth with Alexander myself, but it's so very absolutely worth it.
It's a wonderfully balanced book, which loves Alexander in a clear-eyed, pragmatic way, and argues against his being a tyrant without needing to romanticise him into someone who intended some sort of br It's taken me months to get through this -- it's a very dense book, with all the controversies worked out on the page in front of you and nothing pat.
It's a wonderfully balanced book, which loves Alexander in a clear-eyed, pragmatic way, and argues against his being a tyrant without needing to romanticise him into someone who intended some sort of brotherhood of man. What it leaves me with, though, is a desire to know more about the many strong and fascinating women around Alexander and so I wish that Mary Renault had liked women better, and been more willing to portray them positively, given that no-one else will ever write the story of Alexander like she did -- I want to know more about the sophisticated courtesans, like Thais and Pythionice, who gave Athens up for a life on the road; about Alexander's childhood friend turned lover Barsine and whether she ever hoped to become his wife ; about his wife Roxane; and more, even, about Olympias, so very much like Medea.
It's the more important because the impression I get from the book is absolutely that Alexander was bisexual, not homosexual putting aside the fact that the ancient world didn't have those categories -- perhaps more oriented towards sexual attachments to women and romantic attachments to men. The surprising and touching thing is that while Hephaistion doesn't appear very much in the book, not least as in admitting that even Alexander's personality is something to be searched for, it can make even fewer pronouncements about what the man he loved was like, you still get a sense of how utterly essential he was to Alexander, how trusted and depended upon, and how much the love that ran between them was a solid bedrock that couldn't be touched by any other passions Alexander might have.
One soul in two bodies; he too is Alexander; that's exactly how it was, and no wonder the book says the hardest thing to imagine is what Alexander must have been like after Hephaistion's death.
I admit I've not read any other biographies of Alexander, but if you don't know where to start or are only intending to read one, this is the one I would go with, because of its thoroughness and fairness. Now to follow it up with Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire - which looks like a really great depiction of the Wars of the Successors, and all the vicious infighting that resulted in the wake of Alexander's death - and then something about the cultural legacy of the Hellenistic period, especially its impact on poetry and the two-way influence between Stoicism and Buddhism, because that's what I find the most interesting.
Apr 03, Mia Sebti is currently reading it. When Alexander met Roxanne, he immediately fell in love with her, He eventually got married to her.And also his legacy portrayed as remarkable military skills and the philosophy, art, and literature of ancient Greece which have so influenced our lives ever since. We like our heroes to be accidental heroes. Read reviews that mention alexander the great norman cantor persian empire pagan world years later introduction to alexander books about alexander modern biography example general readers analysis ancient basic greece brief page summary text.
Journey to the End of the Earth. Deals and Shenanigans. Paperback Verified Purchase. Almost all books I've read in recent years about Alexander give Philip quite a bit of spotlight. By fall, Alexander and his army had made it across the southern coast of Asia Minor to Gordium, where they took the winter to rest.
Nov 11, Joy rated it really liked it.