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From award-winning historian Robin Lane Fox, Alexander the Great searches through the mass of conflicting evidence and legend to focus on Alexander as a man of his own time. Tough, resolute, fearless, Alexander was a born warrior and ruler of passionate ambition who understood the intense adventure of conquest and of the unknown. When he died in 323 BC aged thirty-two, his vast empire comprised more than two million square miles, spanning from Greece to India. His achievements were unparalleled - he had excelled ...
From award-winning historian Robin Lane Fox, Alexander the Great searches through the mass of conflicting evidence and legend to focus on Alexander as a man of his own time. Tough, resolute, fearless, Alexander was a born warrior and ruler of passionate ambition who understood the intense adventure of conquest and of the unknown. When he died in 323 BC aged thirty-two, his vast empire comprised more than two million square miles, spanning from Greece to India. His achievements were unparalleled - he had excelled as leader to his men, founded eighteen new cities and stamped the face of Greek culture on the ancient East. The myth he created is as potent today as it was in the ancient world. Combining historical scholarship and acute psychological insight, Alexander the Great brings this colossal figure vividly to life. 'So enjoyable and well-written ... Fox's book became my main guide through Alexander's amazing story'
Oliver Stone, director of Alexander 'I do not know which to admire most, his vast erudition or his imaginative grasp of so remote and complicated a period and such a complex personality'
Cyril Connolly, Sunday Times 'An achievement of Alexandrian proportions'
New Statesman Robin Lane Fox was the main historical advisor to Oliver Stone on his film Alexander, and took part in many of its most dramatic re-enactments. His books include The Classical World: An Epic History of Greece and Rome, The Unauthorised Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible, Travelling Heroes: Greeks and their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer and Pagans and Christians in the Mediterranean World from the Second Century AD to the Conversion of Constantine.
Posted March 11, 2000
This is an extraordinary history. Anyone expecting a conventional biography will be disappointed, since the biased and fragmentary nature of the primary sources makes modern biographical treatment for Alexander impossible, even more so than for other ancient heroes. However, one thing about the peripatetic conqueror that seems to be known with some certainty is the itinerary that defined his brief life. Starting from this, Mr. Lane Fox applies his own intimate knowledge of the middle and near-eastern landscape to create a book which, at its most basic, reads like a highly literate travelogue. This is all backdrop, though, for a kind of detective story as the author picks apart the tantalizing fragments of information and disinformation that, once boiled down, reveal for us Alexander's character. The bold military prodigy is clearly apparent here, but that's the standard textbook part of the story. Rounding out the picture, we see him as the cosmopolitan diplomat, beloved egalitarian leader-of-men, bisexual libertine, respectful supplicant to his gods, forgiving victor, gallant defender of women, ostentatious potentate, superstitious fool, charismatic orator, fearless in-the-trenches combat commander, wily tactician, boyish adventurer, child-like animal lover, sophisticated Greek intellectual, reckless gambler, visionary strategist, loyal and generous friend, bloody mass killer, and drunken lout. And the truly remarkable thing about the history is that all these persona somehow hang together, creating a believable portrait that makes it clear why Alexander has fascinated politicians, soldiers and scholars for twenty-three centuries. Stylistically, this book is dense and will deter casual readers. However, some patience through the early pages gives enough time to get into the exotic poetry of place names and the flow of the story. The turgid logic of the character study takes over from there, and the case unfolds majestically. This is a brilliant historian at work and I highly recommend the book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 6, 2008
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