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Alexander the Great: Man and God Paperback – September 18, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-1405801621 ISBN-10: 140580162X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (September 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140580162X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405801621
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Ian Worthington's book has many virtues, including a clear narrative that shows initmate familiarity with the primary sources and secondary literature.  It is accessibly written in an unemotional style.'

The Anglo-Hellenic Review, Spring 2005

From the Back Cover

¿Ian Worthington brings an immediacy to ancient history that is exciting and compelling. The characters live and breath and there are many vivid moments of drama ¿ that stay in the mind long after you have put the book down. A ripping read.¿ Terry Jones

 

¿Ian Worthington¿s book has many virtues, including a clear narrative that shows intimate familiarity with the primary sources and secondary literature. It is accessibly written in an unemotional style for a wide general readership.¿ Professor Paul Cartledge, Professor of Greek History, Clare College , Cambridge

 

Alexander the Great was a legend in his lifetime and he remains one today. He has become a near-mythical figure whose youth, advancement of Greek culture and spectacular military success are focused on to the exclusion of other aspects of his life: the delusion, paranoia, murderous tendencies, excessive drinking and his belief that he was a god on earth.

 

Worthington argues that Alexander became corrupted by power and sacrificed the empire his father had sought to establish for his own personal ends. The role played by King Philip II, Alexander¿s pretensions to personal divinity and his failure to marry and to provide a political heir, are uncovered as key factors in his decline and in the chaos and bloodshed that followed his death.

 

In this personal history of Alexander, Worthington discusses not only his dashing image and heroism, but also the downsides to his personality and the disintegration of his empire, to question whether he really deserves to be called ¿Great¿. This fascinating account of Alexander the Great¿s life is a welcome addition to the legend surrounding the most famous figure in ancient history.

 

 

 

Ian Worthington is Professor of Greek History at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has published numerous books and articles including Alexander the Great: A Reader (2003), Demosthenes: Statesman and Orator (2000), and A Historical Commentary on Dinarchus (1992).  He is currently working on a biography of Philip II of Macedonia.

Customer Reviews

This book really is easy to read and flows rather easily.
Caleb Logsdon
This book does an excellent job imparting a comprehensive understanding of Alexander the great, his life and his effect on history, etc.
Mellow C
I still have not read or heard of anyone in history who has accomplished so much in such a little time in his life.
Nadia Azumi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mellow C on February 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderful chronical both of Alexander the Great's life and conquests. It's primary strength is in the amount of sheer details of Alexander's conquests, his social programs, etc. By reading this book you'll get an excellent understanding of the politics during his time, the practical difficulties that Alexander had conquering such vast regions, and the various ramifications of Alexander's decisions.

However, this book does go a bit politically correct when it gets into the issue of whether Alexander the Great should be called "the great" or "the accursed" (which btw the Iranians seem prefer...seems they haven't gotten over Alexander ending their golden age). Although, to be fair the author does lay out a good case for relabeling Alexander "the accursed"...or at least acknowledging that his legacy was mixed.

This book does an excellent job imparting a comprehensive understanding of Alexander the great, his life and his effect on history, etc. You even learn enough to see how thing could have gone differently (if Alexander had an obvious heir when died, if he accepted the proposal of Darius to accept all land west of the Euphrates, if he had lived longer and conquered Arabia and Carthage which he was planning on doing).
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18 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Virtuoso Fan on April 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
I find it funny and irksome to read the writings of these armchair kings and generals calling themselves "scholars" sitting on some moral high horse they erect for themselves. I'm just curious what they get out of it. Worthington is certainly a noteworthy scholar with great credentials, but why he sits in his den or office and think he could apply the morals of today to those of some 2500 years ago is not something I could fathom. Clearly, there is an agenda of some sort that belie the thoroughly researched materials.

The book is certainly well-written and it's obvious that Worthington knows his stuff, but his obvious undisguised bias towards the negative over the positive gets a little old. It's so easy to exaggerate the negative (which we ALL have) into something monstrous and totally unsavory. This is exactly what Worthington does time and time again, selectively citing sources or leaving them out to make his point as some sort of prosecutor/judge.

I've read many books about Alexander by noted historians and scholars and they do indeed run the gamut from gushing positivity to dark sourpuss vitriol like this book by Worthington. It's fascinating that Alexander means so many different things to different people - kind of like the German opera composer Wagner. The thing about Alexander is that - no matter what - he'll be studied, admired, revered, reviled, debated over for many millennias to come (assuming mankind survives that long), long after irrelevant books like these have disappeared...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James on August 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ian Worthington is by far the best author when it comes to Alexander and or Phillip II. I found this book difficult to put down, he is detailed and meticulous but at the same time makes history exciting and fun. What I also love about Mr. Worthington is that he does not hide his feelings towards Alexander, writes as such, and gives clear reasons as to why he does not like him. However he still gives the reader the information and freedom to decide for themselves how to view Alexander, as a great human being, or a meglomaniacal mass murderer.
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By Caleb Logsdon on November 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book really is easy to read and flows rather easily. The author lays out the history and while doing such, talks about events that were going on at that time and gives other opinions why certain actions were taken. It really collects most of the evidence out there for Alexander the Great and compiles it and gives you the story with specifics without feeling like you are bogged down reading a textbook.

This man that many people consider to be a great human being conquered a lot of the world. However in doing so, he also slaughtered millions, not only in battle but he had is armies kill civilian populations. He might even had a hand in the assassination of his father just like it is possible his men, the ones closes to him, might have had a hand in killing him. He was a great tactician but is it possible that his reputation as a great general is undeserved because he may have faced overwhelming numbers but the quality of those troops was like comparing little league to the majors? And the leaders he faced were more likely to run than fight? Also, was he great because he forged the force and conquered the lands or is it because he was set up by his father with the best fighting forces at that time and an economy that could support it?

Be the judge, read this book.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nadia Azumi on May 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The quantity of books that I have read of Alexander the Great are self explanatory in by looking at my comments.
I was born in the first Alexandria that he created and from his dreams. Mixtures of cultures.Italians came centuries ago,hence I was born.
It is very hard to judge Alexander,as all of the papyruses regarding his life and conquest were distroyed when the library of Alexandria was burned down centuries after his death.
However some and other related documents have survived the centuries.It is hard not to admire such a bright kid,who captured the lives of many over the centuries with his astonishing tactics of war.
Many books have been written and I am sure that many more will come.The point however is that nothing new has been discovered,therefore these are all assumptions of his character and megalomaniac attitudes.This book is very well written,with some sections that are new to me.How did these come to be,and not by famous historians I am not sure.
There are more details in this book about Bessus,the women in Darius life,the invasion of Sogdiana,Bactria,the Hindu Khush.Details of the cities that Alexander invaded with the actual modern location is important for the reader.
It is not a stunning book but very well written.
To me Alexander was not born a conqueror instead he was a discoverer.He wanted to discover the world,but in doing so he had to invade in order to go on.He did not seem to be interested in gold and precious things rather he gave them away.
His tactics for war,were cunning and seemed like a little kid playing with tin soldiers with his friends.
I still have not read or heard of anyone in history who has accomplished so much in such a little time in his life.
I liked the maps with the details of the assaults in this book.
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