Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography

Overview


"As one reads through Peter Green's enthralling life of Alexander . . . one feels every strand of the mythical story coming apart. . . . Green takes a very bold revisionist stand against the imperial vainglory of antiquity."--Christopher Hitchens, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"In every age, cultures both East and West have cast and recast [Alexander] in a variety of heroic molds, although, as demonstrated in Peter Green's impressive biography (a 1974 study published in England and published here for the first ...

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Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography

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Overview


"As one reads through Peter Green's enthralling life of Alexander . . . one feels every strand of the mythical story coming apart. . . . Green takes a very bold revisionist stand against the imperial vainglory of antiquity."--Christopher Hitchens, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"In every age, cultures both East and West have cast and recast [Alexander] in a variety of heroic molds, although, as demonstrated in Peter Green's impressive biography (a 1974 study published in England and published here for the first time), the myths may well be more admirable than the man."--Erich Segal, Washington Post Book World

"Green's portrait will discomfit those who seek consistency in behavior (and those who have already made up their minds about Alexander): it is a complex, multi-dimensioned figure which should appeal to this troubled age."--Eugene Borza, The Classical World

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Green's vibrant biography--a History Book Club main selection and a BOMC alternate in cloth--deromanticizes the Macedonian general, portraying him as a ruthless megalomaniac. (Sept.)
Library Journal
When Alexander, king of Macedonia, hegemon of Greece, left the Balkans in 334 BC to conquer the Persian Empire, he undertook what was arguably the greatest physical adventure in human history. Ancients Plutarch and Arrian, modern scholars Wilcken and Tarn, popularizers Harold Lamb and Mary Renault, have all provided excellent accounts of the Homeric conqueror. To this body of knowledge Green adds a superb, engrossing, and balanced account--a book published in 1974 but never before available in the U.S. Convincingly maintaining that Alexander's absolute power corrupted him absolutely, Green's interpretation will displease those who acclaim the Macedonian as a proponent of the brotherhood of man. Includes maps, references, and genealogical tables. Recommended for all academic, school, and public libraries. History Book Club selection; BOMC alternate.--Kim Holston, American Inst. for Property and Liability Underwriters, Malvern, Pa.
Kirkus Reviews
A superb character study that's a massive expansion and revision of Green's Alexander the Great (1978, published only in Great Britain as a trade paperback). Like Robert Graves, Green (Classics/Univ. of Texas at Austin) can make the ancient world and its people come alive. Within a few pages, the reader knows that Alexander's father was devoted to wine, women, song, power, and young boys, and that Macedonia, typically perceived by us from the Hellenic view as backward and brutish, was most modern in being the first genuinely united nation in this part of the world. And barbaric: Alexander, his life saved by his nurse's brother, later killed the man in a drunken quarrel; his army purified itself before battle by marching between two halves of a slaughtered dog. Great names abound—Darius (utterly defeated), Demosthenes (casually brushed aside), Heracles (an ancestor), a sunbathing Diogenes (asking Alexander not to block the sun), and Aristotle (racist, dandy, manipulator, and xenophobe). The book is a thicket of intrigues, battles, treaties made and broken, and names that can't possibly be remembered. But it drives forward, clarified by Green's easy command of the material and saturated with his sense of that gorgeous, raging, brilliant time in which an implacable golden demigod rammed Hellenism forever into history and legend. The scale of Alexander's life is marvelously conveyed: For example, rebuked as a child by a tutor for wasting incense, when Alexander conquered the spice-trade centers years later, he sent the tutor 18 tons of myrrh, frankincense, etc., making him rich as a king. A magnificent biography—and an unflinching study of Realpolitik in the ancientworld.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520275867
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 690,455
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Peter Green is Dougherty Centennial Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin and Adjunct Professor of Classics at the University of Iowa. He is the author of many books and translations, including Alexander to Actium, the poems of Catullus, and Apollonios Rhodios's The Argonautika, all published by University of California Press.

Eugene N. Borza is Professor Emeritus of Ancient History at the Pennsylvania State University.

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