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Good, albeit not very nuanced, portrayal of Philip II of Macedonia
on April 1, 2011
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.