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Alexander the Great: A Life in Legend Hardcover – September 28, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (September 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300112033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300112030
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,415,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Who was Alexander? An unsympathetic, cursory reading of the bare facts could paint him as a megalomaniac whose character was warped by his dysfunctional family. Of course, there are other perceptions of him: he was a military genius with a rare vision of uniting the Persian and Greek worlds; he was a romantic and chivalrous conqueror with a gift for winning over enemies with grand gestures. These perceptions are largely the result of a sustained process of mythmaking, which was initiated by Alexander himself and continued for centuries after his death. Stoneman, a classicist, has examined the sources and processes that created these myths in a well-written and beautifully illustrated book. He shows how various cultures—Egyptian, Persian, British, and Greek—adopted, modified, and exaggerated historical sources to create their own versions of Alexander to suit their concepts of the heroic ideal. This is an unusual and thought-provoking book that should appeal to both Alexander buffs and well-informed general readers. --Jay Freeman

Review

"This is an unusual and thought-provoking book that should appeal to both Alexander buffs and well-informed general readers."—Booklist
(Booklist 2008-04-01)

"The volume is highly informative in its goal of tracing the evolution of thought about Alexander through the centuries."—Dawn L. Gilley, Bryn Mawr Classical Review
(Dawn L. Gilley Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2008-09-19)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Norma on July 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Richard Stoneman examines, not the actual life of Alexander, but his afterlife in the legends of a wide variety of cultures. The book is book is both scholarly and entertaining, and seductive just to dip into. The tales themselves are fascinating. If you've ever wondered about the many works of art, cropping up in unexpected places (and well illustrated here), showing Alexander exploring the deep in a diving bell, or ascending into the sky in a flying machine drawn by winged griffins, or encountering the oracular tree of heads, this will furnish an explanation. An essential for those interested in Alexander, or in ancient history and its effects on the later imagination, or in the genesis of comparative legend and folklore.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Richard Stoneman has probably done more research on the huge legacy of Alexander than anyone. Since the beginning, historians were writing down every move he made--he had his own personal historian.
When he died, there were numerous books written about his campaign across Asia. Soon however, people were telling stories about things that he didn't actually do and places he never got to. The demand for Alexander stories actually grew after his death--he was the ultimate hero.
Alexander took Hercules example to heart and always did the right thing--except when he didn't. But his failures simply reminded that although he was the son of a god (zeus ammon) he was also human.
The fantastical stories were written down into what is called, "The Alexander Romance." Stoneman is the expert on it, and it is also a great read--you should perhaps read it before this one.
Around the first century, four more major biographies were written; they were called the "Vulgate" tradition. The resurgence of interest in Alex's exploits continued well into the Dark Ages.
Also his fame spread throughout Asia, and there is even a Muslim tradition.
One more thing, you should read at least one version of Plutarch's "Alexander" to understand his basic biography. That is available free online.
When you become an expert on all things Alexander, you will be innately satisfied but also should come back and give a review here on Amazon.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mleon on November 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this book,I answered my old question, why for some Alexander was Great (even a Prophet) and for others a monster seeking for blood and gold.
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