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Alexander of Macedon 356-323 B.C.: A…

Alexander of Macedon 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography (2013)

by Peter Green

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Peter Green's treatment of Alexander is the first book I bought when, in 1990, I started graduate school at the University of Missouri-Columbia. I wasn't a history major, but I always was and remain a history reader. I knew little about Alexander at that time. What I did know is some of the things that happened to Alexander's empire after he died. L. Sprague de Camp, Mary Renault, and a few others told me about that stuff before I ever picked up a history of Alexander himself. So when I saw Peter Green on the shelf and had a bit of change in my pocket, I pounced on his biography of Alexander.

As a read on Alexander, I found Dr. Green pretty much of a so-so. The history parts were swell, but in his narration Peter Green came off as a Pecksniff. Alexander's achievements were discounted because they were accomplished by Alexander. Peter Green doesn't like Alexander because he (Green) evidently despises drunkards, homosexuals, muggers, killers, soldiers and some other types whose disparagement he either forgot or chose to neglect in his Alexander project. In his tale of Alexander, however, Green takes every opportunity to fault the General for all of those sins and for some I've probably forgot to mention. After all, it's been almost 30 years since I read Dr. Green.

Green seemed both self-righteous and ignorant of the fact that of all those things he and some other modern prudes rush to despise in the ancients -- things such as thuggery, rape, murder, drunkenness, drug use, torture, genocide, starvation, spouse abuse, et other passtimes -- were in Alexander's day called "fun".

Most all of the crimes committed by Alexander's troops in their conquests were all in a day's work for armies of that age and -- when I recall Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and other such tiffs -- I don't think the pleasures of Alexander's army were as awfully outre or out of kilter as most of the stuff that goes on in our "civilized,' Christian, Western Hemisphere these days.

Peter Green was born in 1924 and today must be awfully old. Still I think it might improve his historical perspective if he'd buy a few big jugs of single-malt and tag along with the Fifth United States Marines when next they leave home to aid and abet Washington's next armed robbery -- OOOOPS! I mean "regime change" -- OOOOPS! I mean "humanitarian relief operation."

Wherever such an experience might lead Dr. Green and whatever happens to him during the operation, I'm sure it would prepare him to write better books in the future.

Solomon Sed. ( )
  NathanielPoe | Feb 20, 2019 |
Peter Green's thesis I'm p. sure: Alexander was a warmongering genius with a embarrassing god-complex, but in a super hot interesting way. ( )
  Stebahnree | Mar 13, 2016 |
Peter Green's thesis I'm p. sure: Alexander was a warmongering genius with a embarrassing god-complex, but in a super hot interesting way. ( )
  Stebahnree | Mar 13, 2016 |
Biography of Alexander of Macedon, 365 - 323 b.c
  HanoarHatzioni | Jun 8, 2009 |
Alexander the Great is an interesting historical figure and this edition provides a good insight into his life and times. The writing is dense and, while thorough, not the most accessible. ( )
  davidpwhelan | Dec 13, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0520071662, Paperback)

There's no shortage of biographies available on Alexander the Great, but Peter Green's Alexander of Macedon is one of the finest. The prose is crisp and clear, and within a few pages readers become absorbed in the world that made Alexander, and then the story of how Alexander remade it. Green writes, "Alexander's true genius was as a field-commander: perhaps, taken all in all, the most incomparable general the world has ever seen. His gift for speed, improvisation, variety of strategy; his cool-headedness in a crisis; his ability to extract himself from the most impossible situations; his mastery of terrain; his psychological ability to penetrate the enemy's intentions--all these qualities place him at the very head of the Great Captains of history."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:39 -0400)

Portrays the life and military career of Alexander the Great of Macedonia.

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