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Alexander the Great Paperback – Oct 5 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Tie-In ed. edition (Oct. 5 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143035134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143035138
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #440,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"A magnificent, compelling epic...He has honored him splendidly." —Sunday Telegraph



"Dramatic, rich in details about little things as well as great...filled with persistent probing into human psychology.... Throughout there is an air of excitement and tension." —The New York Times Book Review



"Fox writes on the heroic scale.... [He] has covered the ground with immense thoroughness." —The Economist

About the Author

Robin Lane Fox is University Reader in Ancient History and an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford. The author of The Classical World and Alexander the Great, Robin lives in Oxford, England.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is insanely great. The author was shockingly young when he wrote it, but then, that's in keeping with Alexander himself. The author is so detailed and so knowledgeable, it's hard to believe anyone under 40 could have read so much. If you're into the period, Robin Lane Fox goes into marvellous detail on many fascinating points, most of which are glossed over by other authors. I wish someone had just told me to read this book and skip the others. The original works by Arrian and Plutarch only really make sense in the context of a work like Fox's.
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!
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Format: Paperback
Try as I might, I cannot bring myself to give Fox's treatment of Alexander the lavish four and five stars that others have given. It's not that there aren't some qualities here worthy of praise, it's that there is far too much that detracts from the enjoyment.
This is the first biography of Alexander I have read, so I'm in no position to compare it to others out there. I can say, however, that Fox succeeds marvelously in bringing geography to life. Despite reading countless books about events in the Middle East, I never truly appreciated how formidable the climate there is until reading Fox. Fox presents a picture that is literally Alexander against the world - against deserts, mountains, heat, cold, snakes, and disease. For this alone, Fox's biography of Alexander is worth reading. I can think of no other historian who so skilfully matches events to geography.
Alas, there are some daunting downsides. While Fox's descriptions of geographic features are amazing, his maps are terrible. This is not entirely his fault; much of the blame lies with the black-and-white reprint. But even putting that aside, the maps given do not completely follow the text and are too few and too far spaced through the book to be much use. Far better to put several maps in one place at the beginning or end of the book for ease of reference. Too, Fox has a depressing tendency to talk in circles for pages on end, retelling the same event over and over and over with slight variations, then giving his own conclusions that sound an awful lot like the original version of the story presented pages before. The effect is to make the reader all the more sympathetic with Alexander's soldiers as they marched through the Makran desert; like them, the reader becomes opressed by the thought that the journey will never end, no matter how worthwhile the result will be.
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Format: Paperback
I devoured "The Unauthorized Version" and "Pagans and Christians", two towering works by the same author at a later period in his life. This work on Alexander gives us a glimpse of the evolution of Fox's writing as well as his insights and conclusions on the subject which are still fresh and surprisingly valid after all these years.
As usual, Fox examines and refers to numerous ancient document, customs of the times, differences in languages and somehow makes clear to the reader even the most confusing of subjects, such as the interplay between clans, tribes, family and nationalities. What is so remarkable about this writing is the universal quality of the prose along with the surprising but perfectly valid conclusions.
Many historians seem afraid to offer conjecture or opinions but Fox has deliberately gone out on a limb several times - for example, his conclusion that John, the last Gospel penned, was actually the closest to the original sources. In this book we are given a picture of the life and times of one of the most influential person in history - as much for what he stood for as what he accomplished. This is history at its finest.
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Format: Paperback
I devoured "The Unauthorized Version" and "Pagans and Christians", two towering works by the same author at a later period in his life. This work on Alexander gives us a glimpse of the evolution of Fox's writing as well as his views on the subject which are still fresh and surprisingly valid after all these years.
As usual, Fox examines and refers to numerous ancient document, customs of the times, differences in languages and somehow makes clear to the reader even the most confusing of subjects, such as the interplay between clans, tribes, family and nationalities. What is so remarkable about this writing is the universal quality of the prose along with the surprising but perfectly valid conclusions.
Many historians seem afraid to offer conjecture or opinions but Fox has deliberately gone out on a limb several times - for example, his conclusion that John, the last Gospel penned, was actually the closest to the the original sources. In this book we are given a picture of the life and times of one of the most influential person in history - as much for what he stood for as what he accomplished. This is history at its finest.
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