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Alexander the Great Hardcover – 12 Nov 1973
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"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
-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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Robin Lane Fox was the main historical advisor to Oliver Stone on his Alexander film, and took part in many of its most dramatic re-enactions. He has been University Reader in Ancient History at Oxford University since 1990 and Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at New College, Oxford, since 1977. His books and articles include major works on the relation between the pagan and early Christian religions of the Roman Empire and his forthcoming History of the Ancient World will be published by Penguin in autumn 2005. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
And that is the other warning: It is VERY detailed. Don't expect a standardised history of Alexander, this is probably very close to the definitive detailed work and at times it can be hard going, but the expanse of detail makes it worthwhile.
If you are starting out looking for a history of the man, I'd probably point you away from this, but if you have chewed your way through a good many histories and want something more, then this is definately for you.
Well researched hardly describes it, but I do think casual readers will fall out within the first few chapters. Also as someone just about to graduate into their first pair of reading glasses along with their 'everday' specs, it is tightly printed so make sure you have some good specs handy!
Fox never patronises his audience with his writing style but neither does he make any assumptions that the reader is pre-armed with a firm grasp of classical history. He clearly explains where he gets his sources from, who he trusts, if there are conflicting accounts and where his judgements lie.
The book relates an epic story and Fox tells it in great detail; normally, the more detail a book provides, the better but in this particular case, the book loses one star in its rating because Fox's sentences can run to great lengths and become rather muddy (I'd give it four and a half if I could). Don't let that put you off buying this book, though, as it animates quite successfully Alexander's life and times, the politics and the geography. This book is especially recommended to those of you who have Oliver Stone's film, Alexander Revisited, to which Robin Lane Fox was an advisor.
But be warned.....there are some not so good things.
First, the language in which the book is written is unduly complex - lots of double negatives, very involved sentences, etc. I simply don't think this is good writing: admittedly the events being discussed are complex, but surely even the most complex concept or event can be expressed using simple, accessible, language?
Second, the maps really aren't particulary useful. They are small, dark, and difficult to read. So the geography is rather baffling - unless of course you already have considerable knowledge of the ancient world, or an atlas of it to hand.
Third, for the beginner it's easy to get bogged down in the level of detail. There's little sense of a wood, or even of the outlines of one, just of thousands of trees.
Fourth - so MUCH military history! Endless pages about chariots and spears. I did find these a little dull, though I'm sure that's an unfair criticism - tastes differ. And of course you could argue that an account of the world's greatest military leader would necessitate a certain amount of military history.
Overall, I found this book difficult to finish - although having done so, I know a lot more about Alexander and his world than I did before. And I'm tempted to re-read it. I imagine that it's a very rewarding book for someone who already has an overview of the subject - but perhaps it's not the best introduction to it.
very difficult to read. After persevering for several pages I gave up
and gave the book to a charity shop.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The condition of what is a second hand book is very good and excellent value. However, I have only just begun reading it so can't make any further comments about the content or... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Deejay
Robin Lane Fox, has spent all of his professional career...and it shows! He dumbs nothing down, therefore you the reader are expected to keep up. Read morePublished 8 months ago by katie clarke
Very refreshing take and sad that so little can really be seen of this remarkable man. How desperate we all want to know him. His charisma still holds us - like a God !Published on 26 April 2015 by Drew