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Alexander the Great Paperback – October 5, 2004
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Tough, resolute, fearless. Alexander was a born warrior and a ruler of passionate ambition who understood the intense adventure of conquest and of the unknown. When he died in 323 B.C.E. at age thirty-two, his vast empire comprised more than two million square miles, spanning from Greece to India. His achievements were unparalleledâhe had excelled as leader to his men, founded eighteen new cities, and stamped the face of Greek culture on the ancient East. the myth he created is as potent today as it was in the ancient world.
Robin Lane Fox's superb account searches through the mass of conflicting evidence and legend to focus on Alexander as a man of his own time. Combining historical scholarship and acute psychological insight, it brings this colossal figure vividly to life.
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He also added other information such as the way of life back then, the way different peoples thought, lived, believed, treated each other, religions, how they understood divinity and the way they fought in war, in addition to the geography, culture, medicine, plants, food, clothings in various areas of the empire back then. It is interesting to find how all these things affected and related Alexander and what he did.
As he says in the beginning of the book, this is not a biography but a search of Alexander the Great. So, there's no straight telling of what had happened.
Fox's insight is deep and thorough, makes you think. It's not just a study of one man, but a study of human kind. But if you don't have a logical mind, it may bore you, because sometimes he hangs onto one event, spending 3-4 pages sometimes even more on just one thing, to investigate. Very informational and powerful work.
My only complaint is that this edition has such fine print, the font size is so small (probably size 6 or 7), and to read more than 500 pages with the kind of small print wears your eyes out. It made me realize that it's about time for me to get bifocals. I strongly recommend this book, but keep a magnifier at hand, rest your eyes once in a while.
In addition, Fox isn't scared to make a few conjectures - like the one that Alexander's mother was likely the one behind his father's murder. Now that you look at it, it sort of makes sense, but the thought never would have occurred to me.
I'm sure the book drives hardcore Alexanderologists (or whatever they call themselves) insane because of these conjectures, but it allows Fox to bring the man to life in a way no other author has - especially keeping in mind that no commentary direct from authors in Alexander's lifetime exists (quite like Christ, a point Fox doesn't fail to mention).
I just wish I could read it again for the first time!