In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great
A Journey from Greece to Asia
|Format:||Paperback / softback, 256 pages|
|Other Information: ||illustrations|
|Published In: ||United States, 01 August 2001|
Between 334 and 324 B.C. the Macedonian army, led by Alexander the Great, marched relentlessly across Asia. An event of bravery and cruelty, endurance and greed, Alexander's expedition was a turning point in human history. His conquest opened up contacts between Europe and Asia, unleashing astonishing historical energies that continue to affect the world today. This extraordinary book recreates Alexander's 22,000 mile, ten-year expedition from Greece to India, following as much as possible the actual route of his journey.Historian Michael Wood traversed seventeen countries, trekking through the Zagros Mountains to find the lost site of Alexander's battle at the "Persian Gates," drinking black tea in the Hindu Kush, listening to ancient stories of Sikander e Aazem, and crossing the Makran Desert with twenty-three camels. He traveled with Lebanese traders, Iranian pilgrims, Afghan guerrillas, and other local people on a journey that took him through many of the twentieth century's major trouble spots, including Beirut and Kurdistan. Wood bases his account of Alexander's conquest on the texts of Greek and Roman historians, but he also reconsiders the Greek adventure in terms of modern ideas on colonialism, orientalism, and racism. The Macedonian conquest, which has mainly been seen through Greek sources, is illuminated for the first time by medieval travelers' narratives, newly discovered oracles, and prophecies on papyrus or clay tablet.At the heart of Wood's powerful story is the towering, enigmatic character of Alexander the Great. He ascended the throne at twenty, conquered much of the known world before he was thirty, and was dead by the age of thirty-two. A ruthless politician, brilliant military tactician, devoted son, family man, lover of both women and men, Alexander was known for his extreme generosity as well as his ferocious cruelty. Following in the conqueror's footsteps centuries later, Michael Wood overhears the words of the fabled Greek mermaid who calls to passing sailors: "Great Alexander still lives!"
About the Author
Michael Wood is a writer and historian living in England. His book, In Search of the Trojan War (1989), was on The New York Times Best Seller list and accompanied a PBS television series. His other books include In Search of the Dark Ages and Domesday: A Search for the Roots of England.
Wood (Domesday: A Search for the Roots of England, LJ 6/1/88) has done something most Alexander scholars would envy. With cameraman in tow, he has successfully followed the path trod by Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C.‘and survived to tell about it. The remoteness and diversity of these regions is as remarkable today as ever. The politics are often volatile, yet in many ways the cultures have remained unchanged for centuries. In following Alexander's path, Wood studies not only the physical geography but the historiography of Alexander as it has evolved since his death. He even discusses at length the effect alcohol had on the conqueror, especially concerning his death. Published in conjunction with a BBC-TV series, this work has excellent illustrations. It is most interesting when comparing the geography of today with that of ancient times. Recommended for all libraries, particularly those who purchase the film.‘Claibourne G. Williams, Ferris State Univ., Big Rapids, MI
It is hard to imagine that only 13 years passed between the day Alexander the Great ascended to the throne of Macedon and his death in Babylon in 323 B.C. His 22,000 mile, 10-year world conquest stretched from Greece to India and established the young warrior firmly in the folklore of every part of his known world. Historian Wood (In Search of the Trojan War) trekked Alexander's path, and the result is this companion volume to the upcoming BBC/PBS series of the same name. It is still pretty tough travel, requiring camels, horses, sturdy shoes and a variety of hardy vehicles to places that are still some of the world's trouble spots and where little seems to have changed since the Macedonians marched east. But it is the way Wood weaves together a number of fascinating threads that makes Alexander more than the story of a rough trip. He explores how, 2000 years after his death, tales of Alexander are still told in marketplaces across Central Asia, and how his image appears in the art of lands as far from his path as China. Alexander's place in history is revealed through his contemporaries as well as the revisionist historians of later centuries. Wood wisely takes the time to set the scene: Why did a 20-year-old ruler of a bellicose backwater like Macedon feel he could challenge the mighty Persian empire‘and then keep going? On the other end of the time line, Wood shows how some of the burning issues of Alexander's time are still some of the hot-button topics in that part of the world today. Illustrated with 112 images (56 in color), this is a marvelous adventure and a delicious taste of history. (Nov.)
"This is a marvelous adventure and a delicious taste of history."--"Publishers Weekly
|Publisher: ||University of California Press|
|Dimensions: ||24.79 x 18.95 x 1.6 centimeters (0.71 kg)|