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Alexander the Great: The Story of an Ancient Life Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (September 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521767482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521767484
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,794,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Advance Praise: "An elegant, accessible, and thoughtful introduction to the life of one of history's most important and most controversial figures. Bravo to Blackwell and Martin, for bringing so much scholarship to bear and for wearing it so lightly." - Barry Strauss, Cornell University

"Blackwell and Martin have produced a wonderful new view of one of the most fascinating figures from the historical record. Their clear, lively narrative style allows them not only to bring Alexander and his world to life but to integrate a great deal of critical analysis with a very light touch. This is a must- read for anyone interested in Alexander the Great, and every instructor covering Alexander in class should start with this new book." - Gregory Crane, Tufts University

"Very few political leaders in history have been called '"great'": the challenging biography of Alexander written by Martin and Blackwell delineates the universe of values, ideals, and dreams of the greatest - according to Napoleon Bonaparte - of the greats. Especially addressed to general readers, but also very stimulating for specialists." - Prof. Virgilio Costa, University of Rome Tor Vergata

"well edited................the authors have told an interesting tale and one whose argument provides an interesting foil to the bulk of contemporary Alexander scholarship." --BMCR

Book Description

Everything we know about Alexander comes from ancient sources, which agree unanimously that he was extraordinary and greater than everyday mortals. This book explains who Alexander was, what motivated him, where he succeeded (in his own eyes) and where he failed, and how he believed that he earned a new "mixed" nature combining the human and the divine. It explains what made

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Yvonne Michel on May 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Alex TG has been done to death, I thought. But, then I read this good book by ancient Greek scholars, the life of this magnificent individual came alive for me. I was always disturbed by the treatments of other authors/screenwriters of this man who accomplished what truly no other single person has ever done. He was indeed great, yet he was called a gay monster for the slaughter and destruction he orchestrated. For the first time, I see a compelling glimpse into the character of this complex, creative, and driven man.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Phillips on June 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of my goals this summer is to read through the history of Europe from ancient to modern times through a selection of about a dozen books. Having finished Thomas R. Martin's excellent "Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times (Yale Nota Bene)" I was ready to learn more about Alexander the Great, perhaps the most prominent figure of ancient times. I turned first to the biography by Robin Lane Fox but found it too wordy and disjointed. After reading several chapters I decided to look for something more organized and found that Martin also co-wrote this concise biography of Alexander.

This book is a very good overview of the life of Alexander and his accomplishments. It focuses on two intriguing aspects of Alexander's character. The first is what the authors refer to as "pothos", or Alexander's desire to "go beyond" the accomplishments of everyone who had come before him and to achieve "excellence." In this context, the authors are able to explain Alexander's goals and his drive for conquest in a way that makes sense based on his own philosophical beliefs. The authors also emphasize Alexander's upbringing in which he was steeped in Greek literature. They portray Alexander as a man who valued knowledge highly as an end in itself and therefore carried copies of Greek literature with him on his travels. He was especially fond of the plays of Euripides and of the "Iliad" whose character Achilles gave Alexander a hero to rival. By doing this, the authors evaluate Alexander based on the society in which he lived (and helped to create) and by his own beliefs about what his role was as a "Man of Great Soul.
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By softly on February 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm normally not a non-fiction kind of person, but his book is so well written and so interesting I'm happy with it. It has a lot of back story and information about the culture(s) surrounding Alexander, and one can see how bright and innovative he was. Great book.
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