This book deals with the conflicts between the Greeks and Persians beginning with the birth of the Persian King Kyros the Great to the signing of `The King's Peace' between the Persians and the Greek cities. This book includes all the major conflicts, such as the battles of Marathon and Thermopylai. The major source drawn on for this book is from The Histories by the Greek historian Herodotus, the `Father of History'. Although this book is somewhat light in places, it is well written and researched. This book would be perfect for anyone studying this period without wishing to go through the original sources.
on 21 May 2015
A very good introduction to Alexander the Great, starting with his father, Phillip II, and his early life. Yes, he was charismatic and his military feats were amazing. But his army was really developed by his father. He merely used it on the grand scale, whereas Phillip just used his army in Greece. Also, he relied on other generals underneath him (had to to an extent); a number of which he did not treat well, often because of jealousy. It shows a man who only really seemed to enjoy fighting and boosting his own ego, never consolidating his conquests. He left a massive mess behind him which took a couple of decades of in-fighting between his various generals before it settled down. In some respects he was less successful than his father. Unfortunately for such a great man, dying young may have saved his reputation. As it probably has for others in history (e.g. Hanry IV of France).
I would have given the narrative and commentry/explanation 5 stars, as it was excellent. However, the book was let down by too few of Essential History's usually excellent maps and in a couple of places the maps that were there were not in sequence with the text.
For a book limited to less than 100 pages, the Essential History's format, it is a great introduction to a fascinating, but very flawed man.