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Alexander the Great: The Hunt for a New Past (2004)

by Paul Cartledge

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5391137,947 (3.47)11
Paul Cartledge, one of the world's foremost scholars of ancient Greece, illuminates the brief but iconic life of Alexander (356-323 b.c.), king of Macedon, conqueror of the Persian Empire, and founder of a new world order. Alexander's legacy has had a major impact on military tacticians, scholars, statesmen, adventurers, authors, and filmmakers. Cartledge brilliantly evokes Alexander's remarkable political and military accomplishments, cutting through the myths to show why he was such a great leader. He explores our endless fascination with Alexander and gives us insight into his charismatic leadership, his capacity for brutality, and his sophisticated grasp of international politics. Alexander the Great is an engaging portrait of a fascinating man and a welcome balance to the myths, legends, and skewed history that have obscured the real Alexander.… (more)
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http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2765903.html

This is an interesting but somewhat frustrating biography of Alexander the Great. It assumes a better knowledge on the part of the reader than I could summon up from my memories of L. du Garde Peach's Labybird Book on the subject more than forty years ago, hanging a structure of chapters each addressing different themes of Alexander's short life, which necessarily means that the same incidents get cited over and over again from much the same angle. (Alexander as leader, Alexander's sexuality, Alexander as a Greek, Alexander as a Persian ruler, Alexander as a living god among men, etc.) The most interesting chapter was the last, in which Cartledge looks at the difficulties of working out exactly what happened given the diversity of the sources - it reminded me a bit of the digressions on De Selby in The Third Policeman, only for real. I guess I should let fiction fill in where fact is lacking, and finally get to grips wwith Mary Renault. ( )
  nwhyte | Feb 4, 2017 |
I hate the way this book is organized and I dislike all of the repetition. I blame both of these problems on the fact he reworked and rewrote a bunch of lectures.

There is some very excellent salty commentary, though, and the supplementary materials in the back are A . ( )
  Stebahnree | Mar 13, 2016 |
I hate the way this book is organized and I dislike all of the repetition. I blame both of these problems on the fact he reworked and rewrote a bunch of lectures.

There is some very excellent salty commentary, though, and the supplementary materials in the back are A . ( )
  Stebahnree | Mar 13, 2016 |
Didn't finish it. Too technical and hardcore for my tastes, and the writing is very, "I'm going to continue to mention that we don't actually know what we're talking about when it comes to history", which isn't necessarily a bad thing since history can be so ambiguous, but it doesn't make for interesting reading. If you're going to keep saying that, then at least put in some interesting ideas for what might've actually happened.

This might be a good read for people who want a more in-depth look at Alexander the Great and his entire world (literally), but not for someone who's just interested in his life. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Dec 15, 2011 |
Just finished "Alexander the Great" by Paul Cartledge. I don't really recommend it except for those interested in the critical historiography of Alexander studies. In other words, if you are interested in a deep study of Alexander and his role in history, this is the book you should read last, rather than first, as you embark on that endeavor. ( )
  Garp83 | May 18, 2011 |
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Inheriting at the age of twenty his father Phillip's position as master of the Greek world east of the Adriatic, Alexander had also, by the ripe old age of twenty-six, made himself master of the once mighty Persian Empire.
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Paul Cartledge, one of the world's foremost scholars of ancient Greece, illuminates the brief but iconic life of Alexander (356-323 b.c.), king of Macedon, conqueror of the Persian Empire, and founder of a new world order. Alexander's legacy has had a major impact on military tacticians, scholars, statesmen, adventurers, authors, and filmmakers. Cartledge brilliantly evokes Alexander's remarkable political and military accomplishments, cutting through the myths to show why he was such a great leader. He explores our endless fascination with Alexander and gives us insight into his charismatic leadership, his capacity for brutality, and his sophisticated grasp of international politics. Alexander the Great is an engaging portrait of a fascinating man and a welcome balance to the myths, legends, and skewed history that have obscured the real Alexander.

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The Egyptian city of Alexandria bears the name of Alexander the Great, whose vast empire stretched from the Mediterranean to Persia. Students will learn about Alexander’s conquests and the interregional character of classical Hellenistic society.
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