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Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander Hardcover – August 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...the book will be read with enjoyment by anyone who has ever heard of Philip, especially military history fans. Recommended."—Choice
(Choice)

“This is a fascinating book in which the noted military historian, Richard Gabriel, puts forth a strikingly new idea: that Philip of Macedon, conqueror of Greece and father of Alexander the Great, was a greater soldier, strategist, statesman, tactician, and military genius than his son. Drawing upon his broad knowledge of warfare in antiquity, Gabriel presents his case clearly and convincingly for scholars and general readers alike. In doing so, he establishes Philip’s rightful place in Western military history, long overlooked, as Greece’s greatest general, indeed one greater even than Alexander.”—Steven Weingartner, editor, Cantigny Military History Series, and author of Chariots Like a Whirlwind
(Steven Weingartner 2010-04-12)

“A fully realized portrait of Philip II as charismatic leader, shrewd statesman, military innovator, and great general emerges from Gabriel’s thorough research and detailed understanding of Greek warfare and politics in antiquity. It is an engaging, reliable, and well-written account of one of the West’s greatest generals, the man whose military and political brilliance shaped both his own age and the future of warfare.”—Michael W. Robbins, editor, Military History
(Michael W. Robbins 2010-04-12)

“Richard Gabriel’s latest book on Philip II of Macedon is well researched, well argued, tells a good story, and is a pleasure for both scholars and general readers. His central thesis regarding Philip’s genius is presented with an insight drawn from Gabriel’s own extensive military experience, something not often found in modern classical scholarship. The book is both informative and fun to read.”—Dr. David B. George, director, Institute of Mediterranean Archaeology
(Dr. David B. George 2010-04-12)

About the Author

Richard A. Gabriel is a distinguished professor in the Department of History and War Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada and in the Department of Defence Studies at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. He was professor of history and politics at the U.S. Army War College and held the Visiting Chair in Military Ethics at the Marine Corps University. A retired U.S. Army officer living in Manchester, New Hampshire, Gabriel is the author of numerous books and articles on military history and other subjects, including Muhammad: Islam’s First Great General and Scipio Africanus: Rome’s Greatest General (Potomac Books, Inc., 2008).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597975192
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597975193
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By H. Williams on January 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author has written a detailed book on the generalship of Phillip II of Macedonia whose genius is forgotten because of the accomplishments of his son Alexander.Phillip inherited a kingdom that although had a lot of potential was surrounded by dangerous neighbours and was on the verge of collapse.Using his diplomatic skills he managed to but time to rebuild his army and in the process revolutionize warfare by creating the legendary combined arms force known as the Macedonian Phalanx.Using this army,his diplomatic skills,his intelligence services and soft power ,Phillip was able to first consolidate Macedonia,expand a security buffer around his kingdom and then expand his control over the greek city states.In doing so he successfully united the warring city states for the first time in their history.What is incredible about phillip's feats is that he never annhilated his enemies like some other generals but rather used his army to disarm them.He was also responsible for the plan to invade the persian empire and as the author convincingly demonstrates many of the strategies ,means and tactics that alexander used would not have been possible without Phillip.However,I disagree with the author that Phillip was the better of the two.Alexander was surely a great innovator as demonstrated by the siege of tyre ,the mountain warfare campaigns he fought in india , the fact that he was able to improvise against an army of elephants in india and the political strategy that he used to bring about the subjugation of the vast persian empire.It would be more accurate to say that Phillip was the equal of Alexander and that Alexander just picked up where his father left off.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good solid biography of Philip II of Macedonia. Perhaps he is more famous for being the father of Alexander the Great than for his own accomplishments.

However, this book makes a very strong case that he is a worthy important historical figure in his own right. After all, he is the one who created the military and political platform from which Alexander launched his conquests.

The book describes his youth, where he spent much time outside Macedonia as, in essence, a hostage. Then, the tale of his rise to power. The Macedonian forces had been wrecked in combat, and Philip came to power having to repair Macedonia's military. The book shows how he did that, how he developed a new approach to battle, how he coupled diplomacy with conflict to advance the goals of Macedonia.

From this beginning, he began to expand Macedonia's sphere of influence and its power. For the most part, his military adventures were successful, and he slowly increased the sway of his country. He began planning for a march on Persia--before his assassination.

The book does a good job at taking sometimes sketchy information about events and creating a credible scenario for battles and other occurrences. One problem is the uncritical take on Philip. The book features something of a "rah rah" view of Philip. There is no doubt that he was an important figure, but a more nuanced view of him would have been useful.

Still and all, a good book if you want to get a better sense of Philip II of Macedonia.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RET on December 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gabriel has produced an excellent popular history of a subject that I think is all too often ignored in ancient history: the career of Philip II of Macedonia. Even since the time of his contemporaries, Philip's thunder had been stolen to a large extent by the vainglorious exploits of his son, Alexander. Yet in doing so, what gets ignored is the gross contrast between father and son. Philip created the Macedonian kingdom out of next to nothing; established and perfected the best army the ancient world had yet seen; and used that kingdom and its army to effectively unify the Greek world.

Without those accomplishments, literally everything Alexander did would have been impossible. Furthermore, as Alexander's own career shows, he lacked the talents necessary to build states or innovate solutions to anything but battlefield problems. Alexander was probably a somewhat better general than his father, but Philip was in all other respects a vastly superior monarch. If Philip hadn't done the hard work, Alexander would have amounted to nothing.

That is Gabriel's argument. He makes it persuasively and proves it in a well-written popular history. If you like swords and sandals non-fiction, buy this book. You'll love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James on January 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anyone interested in learning about the man who paved the way for Alexander, read this. The man did his homework and gives an accurate and yes despite the title and unbiased look at an unsung giant of history. I came away understanding just how important Phillip was for Alexander and without him Alexander likely would have done very little. Great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By fer5900 on November 17, 2013
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Truly Philip is better than Alexander. Philip did the hard work and set everything up to go after and conquer Persia. Alexander just inherited everything his father had built up. Great reading and it tells the amazing tale of how Philip took a backwater tribe and created a new army and took over all of Greece making it the first country in Europe.
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