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on January 3, 2011
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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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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on December 5, 2013
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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I found this book to be both entertaining and informative. As the subtitle states “Greater Than Alexander” the book has a definite point of view, namely that Philip was greater that Alexander in that Alexander could never have done what he did without the army the Philip created. Not only did Philip create a new type of infantry unit, the Macedonian Phalanx, he also created a new type of cavalry and devised the tactics by which the two worked in harmony, creating a winning battle force. Philip is also credited with engineering innovations that allowed him to destroy city walls instead of having to engage in very long lasting sieges. He altered the supply system and the way in which his army operated in the field. I found the book well written and engaging, with an emphasis on military history and battle history. I recommend it to anyone interested in history, military history and the history of ancient Greece.
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on January 11, 2014
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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on November 17, 2013
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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on May 22, 2014
this book was very informative read. what i knew about phillip was what i have read with the books ive read about alexander and by reading about phillip i have alot more understanding on how alexander was able to accomplish the feats that he did. was phillip greater the alxeander? in some aspects i think he was. if it wasnt for some of phillips innovations and unifying of greece there would be no alexander the great.
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on January 31, 2014
This book written by Gabriel shows you the "nuts and bolts" behind the military machine Alexander inherited. Philip did not have the "appetite" of his son and was more a political realist than Alexander.
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on May 6, 2016
Ladino, Sephardic language!
It is an ancient language you.
And this is not even a verse.
You migration triptych.
Govorimy, you are great.
And all live phonemes.
Those customs guard.
Relationship with nature.
And the stories of the people.
Here Ibero-Romance subgroup.
And Giudecca is very necessary.
Spagnolo has always loved.
Dzhudezmo it holy.
Hebroneo many faces.
Developed as an instant.
Curacao in the Netherlands.
And in Brazil there is tango.
Turkey and Greece.
And of course Mexico.
France, Serbia, Bulgaria.
We are proud of you all.
Romania, Bosnia, Portugal.
Immediately and Italy.
Herzegovina, Northern Africa.
Izrail and the Arctic.
Goya, as mail for us.
Fado, Prince Enrico caravels.
And Columbus traveled light.
What opened, so something for everyone.
As Strabo all describe.
Herodotus, he knew all about it.
Atlantis us sweet.
Communication that was an eternity.
Plato was looking for you.
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on December 30, 2013
A thorough treatment of Philip is long overdue. Overall, PoM is a good work. The first half is more interesting; it is a discussion of the broader history of Macedonia and its place in the Greek world. The second half of the book is a detailed narrative of Philip's campaigns. As the author is a military historian, his focus is primarily on the military aspects of his subject, hence the long narration of his campaigns.

There are a few places where I was unsure about the author's conclusions and/or portrayals, but that is typical with any work about antiquity; we know so little definitively. The biggest problem I had with the book was the author's new interpretation of the Battle of Chaeronea. This isn't the place for a long discussion on this but I'm tempted to write the author and quibble with him...

Even so, this book is recommended. First, Philip himself deserves a proper treatment and, second, this book is a great prelude to the study of Alexander. I might pair this book with Peter Green's very excellent biography of Alexander the Great.

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