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In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great [DVD]

4.6 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Wood
  • Directors: David Wallace
  • Writers: Michael Wood
  • Producers: Laurence Rees, Leo Eaton, Rebecca Dobbs
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: BBC/2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Aug. 2005
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002CH90K
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,072 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Michael Wood travels by bus, boat and train from Europe to India, retracing the journey taken by the army of Alexander the Great. Along the way he visits the Khyber Pass, the Indus River and the Makran Desert, investigating the myths which still surround one of the planet's greatest historical figures.

From Amazon.co.uk

Historian Michael Wood embarks on an idiosyncratic journey of 20,000 miles tracing the expedition of Alexander the Great in this captivating documentary. Relying on the words of Greek and Roman historians, Wood sought to follow Alexander's route of world conquest as closely as possible, and it is simply amazing how much folklore about the great general he is able to pick up on the way. Beginning in Greece and proceeding through 16 countries, including Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan and India, Wood listens intently to local storytellers who are still passing down the legends of Alexander. In one fascinating segment, Wood is barred from entering Iraq, but he is able to view the terrain on which Alexander's troops faced the Persians by scanning the radar screens of an American AWACS plane patrolling high above. In the course of his travels, Wood passes through four war zones and he notes that strategic regions of Alexander's day are still "on the fault lines of history". This is a lengthy production, clocking in at almost four hours, but the relaxed pace is a virtue, as Woods and the people he meets along the way, from local storytellers to noted historians, pass along an amazing array of historical knowledge. Lovers of history will find this documentary to be a joy and may well find themselves savouring every mile of Alexander's great journey. --Robert J. McNamara --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is one of the best Michael Wood documentaries, a modern journey that is undeniably epic in scale. Twenty thousand miles from the snowy peaks of Vergina in Macedonian Greece, through modern-day Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and India.

Unfortunately, events in Iraq (the journey took place in the mid-1990s) meant that he could not reach the site of the battle of Gaugamela. Instead, we are compensated by time spent exploring the paths and problems that had Alexander had in his approach to the Persian capital of Persepolis. He also has trouble in Afghanistan, but not necessarily from the Taliban; rather, it was the terrain and the bandits in the mountains that caused problems.

Thankfully, this is no docu-drama: no, it is Wood himself who makes the journey whether it is by foot, by train, yacht, tractor, bus, car, helicopter, van, AWAC (!), lorry, horse, or warship. And his knowledge of languages is clearly impressive, seemingly being able to communicate directly or throgh interpreters in Turkish, Makrani, Baluchi, Urdu,or Pashtun.

The series is not as academic as his search for the Trojan Wars; rather, it is more of a travelogue, but he tries to remain as faithful to the sometimes contradictory sources as possible. Wood's key problem is untangling the facts from the legend. With the writings of the contemporary Callisthenes in hand, together with those of Arrian and Curtius, who wrote three-to-four hundred years afterwards, he attempts to make sense of the disagreements that exist in the documentary sources.

By following in Alexander's footsteps, Wood claims to have made some insights into Alexander's character.
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This is one of the very best of Michael Wood's documentaries, an excellent blend of history and travel, not all of it easy. The comparison of the past (based on the works of classical writers quoted by Wood) with the present as experienced by Michael and film crew, is fascinating, particularly when direct links with Alexander are encountered.

Of the documentaries available on Alexander the Great, this one is definitely the best.
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We watched this after watching Oliver Stone's Alexander Revisited (the final cut) and I'd recommend doing that as this documentary works brilliantly afterwards going into depth and giving you further insights. Make sure you watch the interview with Michael Wood at the end in which he comments on the film etc - it is all excellent. Michael Wood's understanding of the need for historical context and his commitment to trying to understand Alexander in his own terms as much as from our modern perpective is to be applauded. This really is a brilliant documentary - visually stunning, intriguing and entertaining. I cannot imagine anyone interested in this subject being disappointed with this 2 DVD set.
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By Ludovico Sforza TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Mar. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Michael Wood at almost his very best. As per the title it's a trip in the (guessed at on occasion) footsteps of to megalo Alexandros. It's well made, good camera work and Michael's script is first rate. He's not blind to Alexander's faults so it isn't all Arrian but even if one doesn't know anything about the subject it's still entertaining and informative - there's also lots of blue sky which is a great help with the summer and winter we are having.

Comes on two DVD's and covers the ground from Greece to India and highly recommended.
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Alexander keys directly into something in the male psyche. He has been an inspiration and a challenge to successive generations of men for the last two and a half thousand years. And that influence shows no sign of abating. I would summarize it thus: By the age of 32, Alexander had conquered the known world. What have YOU done?

It is clear from the risks he took during the making of this four-part documentary series, and from the near-obsessive zeal with which he pursues Alexander's shade across the Near and Middle East (and on into Asia) that even Michael Wood is not immune to his influence, nor to the question which he sets up in the mind of every man: "What have YOU done...?"

Where Wood particularly scores is in giving you the sense and sight of the vast and often empty landscapes which Alexander and his men traversed. Lonely, dangerous and often frightening places - neither well known nor well travelled in his day - which underscore the tremendous risks which he took, as well as his determination to master them and conquer. No-one else could have done it. And no-one else would have done it. Because on the face of it, it looks like sheer madness to even try...

It is also to his credit that Wood includes the Persian side of the story, in the form of the still extant oral traditions which the local people have about Alexander. Alexander the Accursed. Alexander the Devil. Alexander the Horned One, who burned their holy books, ruined their temples and (so they say) forced their children to marry Greek soldiers. There is also Alexander with Blood On His Hands. In other words, this documentary is not simply an exercise in western chauvinism and triumphalism.
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