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Philip II of Macedonia: Greater Than Alexander [Kindle Edition]

Richard A. Gabriel
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Philip II of Macedonia (382–336 BCE), unifier of Greece, author of Greece’s first federal constitution, founder of the first territorial state with a centralized administrative structure in Europe, forger of the first Western national army, first great general of the Greek imperial age, strategic and tactical genius, and military reformer who revolutionized warfare in Greece and the West, was one of the greatest captains in the military history of the West. Philip prepared the ground, assembled the resources, conceived the strategic vision, and launched the first modern, tactically sophisticated and strategically capable army in Western military history, making the later victories of his son Alexander possible.

Philip’s death marked the passing of the classical age of Greek history and warfare and the beginning of its imperial age. To Philip belongs the title of the first great general of a new age of warfare in the West, an age that he initiated with his introduction of a new instrument of war, the Macedonian phalanx, and the tactical doctrines to ensure its success. As a practitioner of the political art, Philip also had no equal. In all these things, Philip exceeded Alexander’s triumphs.

This book establishes Philip’s legitimate and deserved place in military history, which, until now, has been largely minimized in favor of his son by the classicist writers who have dominated the field of ancient biography. Richard Gabriel, renowned military historian, has given us the first military biography of Philip II of Macedonia.

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Product Description


This is a fascinating book in which the noted military historian, Richard Gabriel, puts forth a strikingly new idea: that Philip of Macedon, conqueror of Greece and father of Alexander the Great, was a greater soldier, strategist, statesman, tactician, and military genius than his son. Drawing upon his broad knowledge of warfare in antiquity, Gabriel presents his case clearly and convincingly for scholars and general readers alike. In doing so, he establishes Philip's rightful place in Western military history, long overlooked, as Greece's greatest general, indeed one greater even than Alexander.A" -- Steven Weingartner, editor, Cantigny Military History Series, and author of Chariots Like a Whirlwind A fully realized portrait of Philip II as charismatic leader, shrewd statesman, military innovator, and great general emerges from Gabriel's thorough research and detailed understanding of Greek warfare and politics in antiquity. It is an engaging, reliable, and well-written account of one of the West's greatest generals, the man whose military and political brilliance shaped both his own age and the future of warfare.A" -- Michael W. Robbins, editor, Military History Richard Gabriel's latest book on Philip II of Macedon is well researched, well argued, tells a good story, and is a pleasure for both scholars and general readers. His central thesis regarding Philip's genius is presented with an insight drawn from Gabriel's own extensive military experience, something not often found in modern classical scholarship. The book is both informative and fun to read.A" --Dr. David B. George, director, Institute of Mediterranean Archaeology

About the Author

Richard A. Gabriel is a distinguished professor in the Department of History and War Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada and in the Department of Defence Studies at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. He was professor of history and politics at the U.S. Army War College and held the Visiting Chair in Military Ethics at the Marine Corps University. A retired U.S. Army officer living in Manchester, New Hampshire, Gabriel is the author of numerous books and articles on military history and other subjects, including Muhammad: Islam's First Great General and Scipio Africanus: Rome's Greatest General (Potomac Books, Inc., 2008).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1110 KB
  • Print Length: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc. (31 Aug. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005G7GUG0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #600,807 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read. 20 Aug. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book.I knew very little about Philip and this book gave a clear history of this great leader.
The book was written in a very easy style and offered up clear evidence in my view that Alexander was given the best army in the world at that time to use as he wished.It would have been interesting to have seen what Philip would have achieved had he lived and been able to campaign in Persia. I am pretty certain he would have left a lasting legacy and not have pursued the personal glory that Alexander was fixated upon.
The book left me with an impression that Philip was a ruthless, brave and very likable man who knew when to make friends and also knew when to exert maximum force. Definitely recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good,well researched,persuasive arguments,questionable conclusion 3 Jan. 2011
By H. Williams - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, albeit not very nuanced, portrayal of Philip II of Macedonia 1 April 2011
By Steven A. Peterson - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding popular history of an oft-ignored king 5 Dec. 2013
By RET - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful work on a masterful man 12 Jan. 2014
By James - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read this book. 17 Nov. 2013
By fer5900 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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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