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Alexander the Great: The Hunt for a New Pastby Paul Cartledge
Synopses & Reviews
In time to coincide with the release of the motion picture directed by Oliver Stone comes a biography on the infamous Macedonian king and conqueror. Author Cartledge is academic consultant on the forthcoming Discovery Channel documentary "Becoming Alexander."
"Alexander the Great's brilliant military campaigns in the fourth century B.C. spread not only his reputation as a heroic and ingenious leader but also the culture of ancient Greece throughout the known world. With his usual riveting storytelling, Cartledge (The Spartans), chair of Cambridge University's classics faculty, narrates Alexander's life and rise to power. Cartledge takes issue with those who contend that Alexander's greatest contribution was to spread Hellenism. He argues instead that Alexander, while sincerely attached to Hellenism, was more concerned with the glory his conquests brought him. Cartledge provides detailed chronicles of Alexander's battles with the Persians, the Tyrians and the Babylonians as he demonstrates the young king's military genius and hunger for success in war. According to Cartledge, Alexander's love of hunting game offers the key to his life and reign. It led him, for example, to successfully adapt for military battles many hunting strategies, such as the surprise attack, a uniquely Alexandrine contribution. A number of appendixes, including a glossary and an extensive bibliography, enhance the book. Cartledge's knack for bringing history to life makes for an absorbing new biography of the legendary Greek leader. 37 b&w illus., 4 maps, 6 battle plans. Agent, Julian Alexander. (Oct. 5) Forecast: Warner Brothers' November 5 release of Alexander the Great, starring Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie and Anthony Hopkins, could give this a sales boost." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Cambridge historian Cartledge, also the author of The Spartans (2001), reassesses the life of the military leader who conquered the Persian Empire and continues to have an impact on military tacticians and statesmen today. Cartledge sees particular significance in Alexander's passion for hunting game, human as well as animal--a test that offered a chance for enhancing his standing and fame. Cartledge combines sequential chronological narration with in-depth systematic surveys of key themes in the Macedonian king's career. The text is peppered with b&w images; an appendix explores the limits set by the available source materials on any attempted reconstruction of Alexander's everyday life.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
PAUL CARTLEDGE is the author of Sparta and Lakonia and The Greeks. He is A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge.
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