Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman is a biographical novel that details the life of one of the greatest king and military tactician that has ever lived throughout our history and what a story this is! Literally, there are events concerning Alexander’s life that you couldn’t even make up if you wanted to. That’s how impressive this man was and to think that this all happened during his time makes it that much more surreal. This is one book you definitely don’t want to miss out on reading if you’re interested in Alexander the Great, especially if you’re starting out fresh like me. Heck, even if you don’t read this version, go ahead and read any one of your choosing. I’m sure it will leave you just as breathless! What I loved most about this book in particular, and there were a lot of books to choose from on this topic, is how easy flowing and novel-like it has been written. The author seems to not only have a passion for studying and teaching ancient history but to also weave it all together in a way that doesn’t feel like a chore to read. If this author wrote science fiction or fantasy novels, I’d be the first to pre-order his books.
“Do you think I have no just cause to weep, when I consider that Alexander at my age had conquered so many nations and I have all this time done nothing that is memorable?” - Julius Caesar
What struck me the most surprising after having read about the Great King is the sheer amount of travelling him and his army went through in search of glory. We’re not just talking about a walk in the park either. We’re talking about having to march for weeks to months at a time and over rough terrain like mountains, desert and river. Although Alexander was a true military genius by having his tactics and mindset studied by many future generations later, he also could have been considered a just ruler during that era. Yes, thousands upon thousands of deaths him and his army were responsible for but like what the author points out, the reader and person doing the studying must put things into perspective and judge the man not as if living by today’s rules and standards but by during their time in which he or she lived. Because many historians rely on the same materials written in the past as their sources for their own work, it can sometime be a pain to figure out what is true and what is fake as past historians can alter their materials to suit their agenda. What the author did here when events written from one source doesn’t match with another, he usually gives his opinion on the matter based on what he knows of Alexander as a person from his previous learning and of past decisions he has already made. I found myself agreeing with the author more often than not based on what little knowledge I have from the book.
It has been such an amazing experience to read Alexander the Great. Reading history to me the best part really is having the hindsight of knowing the consequences or lack of on specific events and decisions made by these important historical figures. Although many of them have dreams of global conquest and ever lasting eternal fame, I highly doubt even they would have the foresight to know just how much of an impact they would have hundreds if not thousands of years in the future.
Do yourself a favor and read this book if you’re interested in Alexander the Great! You’ll learn so much of this important figure and I can assure you that it will just add to your hunger for more knowledge on this subject! I’ve taken many notes alongside my reading so that I could research them at my own pace. It’s amazing how as a reader you don’t even necessarily have to be interested in Alexander the Great to be able to enjoy this biography. Like I mentioned from the start, this really does read like a novel and in fact, I can somewhat consider it a page-turner! Reading history doesn’t get any better than this and it makes me wish we had access to these types of books during my elementary and middle school years. I’m so excited to learn that this author has also written a similar biography on Julius Caesar! That will definitely be on my to-read list.
Thank you Philip Freeman for your incredible work!