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on 15 November 2002
Major General Fuller, who died in 1968, wrote this book in the 50's and uses the pre-WW1 Gold Standard for monetary equivalence. His is a voice from another age - he was on the British Army General Staff during the First World War and was responsible for planning the world's first use of tanks in combat at Cambrai. His style, whilst a little archaic, is readable, but, from time to time, he uses lots of commas, like this, in long sentences. Nowadays we are used to more punchy writing.
Quibbles aside, this is a very useful book that looks at Alexander the general, the strategist, the politician and the genius. There is a good overview of his campaigns and the battles are then examined in detail and his methods analysed. I also liked the attention given to his father, Philip, as it was he who formed Alexanders invincible army.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 6 February 2012
This is a book that was first published in the late 1950s. Despite its age, and the rather dated and somehwat stilted style in which it is written, it remains a very interesting, well-researched, in-depth - and at times fascinating - study of Alexander's generalship by a retired British general that was one of the earliest promotors of tank warfare.

The book still exhibits multiple qualities. These include:
- the acknowlegment of Alexander's debt towards his father Philip, stating that "Alexander's greatest asset was the army he inherited from his father and that without it, and in spite of his genius, his conquests would be inconceivable". One piece is perhaps missing here: Alexander's military talent was perhaps as much acquired as it was a result from his "genius"
- a related strong point of this book is the attention given to context, with the first four chapters of the book devoted to describing the Greek cities and Philip's wars, the Macedonian army, the youth of Alexander, the geography and the Persian Empire,
- it is only then that Fuller comes up with his "strategical narrative" - a history of Alexander's campaigns, before going into more detail and examining Alexander's main battles, his sieges, his "small wars", his statemanship and his generalship.

As an indirect praise and testimony to the quality of this book, you should also be aware that a number of more recent authors have largely been inspired by this structure and the contents of this book, a typical example being English with his three volumes on Alexander (his army, his sieges and his field campaigns).

In some respects, however, this book is somewhat dated. For instance:
- the author's comparisons between Alexander's "shock tactics" on the battlefield, using his Companion cavalry as tanks would be used in the XX century is an obvious anachronism. So are comparisons with Clausewitz's writings. Neither comparisons are entirely valid.
- what Fuller terms Alexander's "genius" is nowadays called his charisma, a mixture of awareness and need to always lead from the front and inspire by personal example, with modern historians insisting on his human side, his personality (and its failings) rather than his "superhuman" genius.

As modern historians now acknowledge, Alexander always "wanted more" and needed to be seen as better than anyone else. It is these psychological characteristics of his personality that make him so outstanding a general: the archetype of the "high risk - high reward" general, always ready to risk it all (starting with his own life) just to pull of one more victory. As such, he is also a very rare general in the sense that he almost always managed to pull it off: he could so easily have got himself killed in any of his major battles and in quite a few of his "small wars" as well. His generalship therefore stands in almost perfect contrast with that of Philip and Parmenion, but also with that of most other generals throughout Antiquity (think of Caesar) who, after careful and methodical planning, took calculated (and mostly limited) risks.

In contrast, Alexander appears to have been a gambler ready to risk it all. What makes him so outstanding is, to a large extent, that he managed to win almost every time, although a carefull analysis of his battles and sieges shows that he almost lost every time. Nevertheless, Alexander was and remains unique, and so does this book, well worth reading for all Alexander fans and anyone interested in this period, despite his age...
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on 28 February 2001
Fuller has a greater understanding of military organisation, management and conflict than any other writer who has tackled this subject. He has also taken the time to study Alexander's campaigns in tremendous detail, resulting in the most comprehensive analysis of his generalship that has ever been written.
Nothing has matched it since, so buy this if you want to understand Alexander's victories and advanatages. Also very good for background on the military and cultural development of ancient greece in relation to its neighbours.
My only criticism is that Fuller is unable to understand certain aspects of Alexander's personality due to his rejection of the idea that Alexander had gay relationships with Hephaestion and Bagoas.
Otherwise, an unparalleled piece of work.
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on 19 November 2014
Brilliant as usual! Major General Fuller is the master in this subject of leadership, who partly because of his honesty in seeing that generals are only at their best when young because of the need for fitness, stamina, quick reactions and initiative etc which are all diminished with age, went no further in the chain of command. How could they promote someone who would have sacked them? By middle age the generals are all too set in their ways to innovate, the persistent need: generalship is about winning and finding new ways is vital and too accustomed to their comforts in the field to be capable of 24 hours a day battle for days on end without much sleep.
Alas, Fuller was a Moselyite. Yet, Winston's CIGS Viscount Alexander deemed him too patriotic to be a risk.
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on 9 June 2011
A campaign history and critique of Alexander of Macedon. General Fuller is in my opinion one of the few men who can claim to be a military genius. In this book we start with the historical narrative and then switch to a critique of some of Alexanders famous battles. In this book Fuller uses source material to reconstruct and examine why Alexander was so successful. I am particularly fond of the section on sieges. This maybe a little dry for some but is the only military history book on Alexander which I ever read more than once! Fuller the man may have been flawed, Fuller the General was a genius.
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on 20 April 2004
This is an interesting account of Alexander's campaigns (the authorhimself was a solider so the emphasis is very much on the militaryside).
However, the writing is quite dated nowadays and the way that the book isdivided into different sections dealing with different aspects ofAlexander's generalship is logical but not a page-burner.
Having said that, it is an interesting and detailed account and wasobviously written before the advent of expensive TV history programmes andcomputer simulations of battlegrounds and troop movements.
I have just started the author's work on Julius Caesar and I am finding itequally hard-going, although still enjoyable.
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on 3 September 2013
very long winded at times. a good read and shows how alexander was out there on his own in military tactics of his time
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on 12 February 2015
useful book, a classic study of Alexander's strategy and tactics.
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on 2 December 2015
looking forward to reading over christmas
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