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About Book Reviews


About Book Reviews and Reviewers...



This is a brief compilation of some of the many available texts dealing with Alexander and his times. We hope to continue adding reviews to this site. Please note that we do not limit this list only to “good” books, so care should be exercised in the selection of texts. We invite other Forum members to add reviews of texts, also, so long as the reviews do not become a battlefield of egos. We are not looking for in-depth reviews, but something for the average reader to quickly scan. These reviews are in English, but if someone wants to take on the task of doing review translations into other languages, we welcome that. Also, please let us know of any reprints or revisions of texts that are significantly different from the original and we will continue to add to and update the list. To submit your review for consideration, send it, along with your real name and an actual contact email address, to [email protected].

We welcome reviews from all readers. However, if you are an author, we ask that you submit your work to another person for review, in order to maintain objectivity. In the text you will see where we have invited reviews - please feel free to contribute. If desired, include a brief bio. We will only list your name on a review if you request we do so. Bios are not required to be a reviewer.

We would suggest that those interested in Alexander and his times try to maintain a neutral view rather than only read those texts that support a particular view. Trends regarding Alexander tend to waver between “hero worship” and “he was evil”, so take everything with a grain of salt. You can generally tell which half of the trend is currently popular because writers tend to follow patterns. The careful reader will realize that no single book has all the truth, and few have any real answers about Alexander other than what he did, and even historical events are open to much debate since the veracity of the sources used by ancient authors is also questionable and are coloured by the biases, agendas, and perspectives of the times in which the authors wrote.All else regarding his nature or personality can best be described as speculation, supposition, deduction, wishful thinking or transference on the part of the author. To attempt to analyze a person from so long ago is futile, at best, especially in light of what sources are available and their distance from Alexander’s times when they were written.

We would like to remind readers of the vast margins for interpretation, error and inaccuracy that exist even within the ancient texts regarding events and Alexander’s nature. Most of the surviving ancient sources were themselves written long after the age of Alexander; we have no sources surviving that were contemporary with Alexander. There is a great deal of misinformation and inaccuracy possible after so long a period, even when using sources closer to the age of Alexander, because even these earliest sources would have reflected the author’s biases and those of his or her own time, culture, political affiliation or agenda. Too many modern historians and journalists continue this unhappy tendency. Also, the ancient sources were sometimes guilty of placing events in non-chronological order for various reasons, of using unreliable earlier sources, of quoting myth and folklore as fact, and of bringing their own particular interpretation of events into their works as “fact” rather than opinion. For those who doubt such confusion of truth, myth and error is possible, one need only look at any recent event from differing points of view to see the possibilities for misinterpretation or manipulation of “fact” or “truth”. If we cannot look at current persons and events with any accuracy, how much less so is the possibility after so long a time? To aid the reader, we have divided the books into categories within fiction and non-fiction.


Marcus Pailing: Studied Ancient History and Archaeology at Bristol University, specialising in Alexander the Great and the Seleucid kingdom in Mesopotamia; took his MA at London University in Medieval Studies, specialising this time in the Icelandic Sagas ... but Alexander remains his main area of expertise and his first love. Teaches History to 11-16 year-olds in a mixed comprehensive school in London. Unfortunately there is little opportunity to teach Ancient, or even Medieval History, so professionally is classed as a Modern Historian.

Nick Welman: Born 22nd of July 1960 (Cancer), graduated as Master of Arts from the state University of Utrecht, Holland in 1985. Has been teaching at the Fontys University of Professional Education, Eindhoven, since 1989. Chairman of the Dutch Sustainable Tourism Foundation REISbeWIJS since 1994. Published a book on the environmental impact of global tourism in 1999. Has admired Alexander since age 15.

Janet Fauble: I have a BA in English Education, and I taught English and Journalism during my short tenure as a teacher. I was advisor to the cheerleaders and songleaders at Gladstone High School in Azusa, California for three years and advisor to the school newspaper for three years. I achieved a life credential teaching certificate to teach in the state of California in 1966. I began teaching in 1962 after graduating from Michigan State University in 1961. I taught English in Arizona for two years before moving to California. I have taken up all kinds of interesting studies since leaving the school system in 1973. I have studied for travel agent, mixologist, word processing, court reporting, and other odd kinds of employable skills. I have had the leisure to spend a lot of time at the local library where I make use of the computer system, and am learning all its functions here until I finally obtain my own personal computer. Word Processing taught me to look before I leap into this world of high processing. I just recently discovered Alexander, and I have found it a most enlightening and rewarding experience to learn of this young prince's adventures and conquests. The most I had known of him was in world history in 1954 or 55 when I learned that he had solved the riddle of the Gordian Knot and thus became ruler of the world. I forgot all about him after that. To discover him has been most rewarding. Senior status has its advantages in that respect, for now I have an appreciation of this King who I have only just begun to know. Astonishing, isn't it? That's as much about me as I can think to tell for now. I am a single female, having had to try to learn to survive in changing times in a climate of antifeminism. It did hurt my cause somewhat. But I am happy to have had a college education that has enabled me to become very independent. Finding and making friends with friends of Alexander will be fun, I am certain.