Philip and Alexander: Kings and Conquerors

by Adrian Goldsworthy

Hardcover, 2020



Call number



Basic Books (2020), 608 pages


"Alexander the Great's conquests staggered the world. He led his army across thousands of miles, from northern Greece to modern Pakistan, overthrowing the greatest empires of his time and building a new one in their place. He led from the front and was often wounded. He claimed to be the son of a god, but he was actually the son of Philip II. In Philip and Alexander: Kings and Conquerors, classical historian Adrian Goldsworthy argues that without the work and influence of his father, it is very doubtful that Alexander would have achieved so much. Philip II of Macedon is often remembered as an old man, one-eyed and lame from wounds. But he was young and inexperienced when he came to power. Philip inherited a minor kingdom that was on the verge of being dismembered. He succeeded in making Macedonia dominant throughout Greece and preparing Alexander to lead his army into war against Persia. Philip, Goldsworthy shows, created the armies that won Alexander's victories. A bold new interpretation, Philip and Alexander will be the definitive dual biography of two men who together reshaped the ancient world."--… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member la2bkk
The author is easily my favorite ancient history historian. His command of each subject, as well as his comprehensive and objective writing style, is second to none. His magisterial biography of Julius Caesar is, in my opinion, his best work and a must read.

This biography also is excellent in many
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ways. It is thorough, displays a deep understanding of the characters and context, and is refreshingly objective.

However, perhaps the scope of material is simply too vast. Philip or Alexander can easily be the subject of their own biography, hence an attempt to cover both In one work can be problematic. For example, it can be easy to get lost in the detail of either figure’s almost never ending military conquests or intrigues. More than once I felt my attention wander due to the volume of information imparted.

Perhaps sometimes less is more. I think that separate biographies would have allowed the author to better demonstrate his fantastic writing skills. Nevertheless, although quite a time commitment, this is a recommended read for those with interest.
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Original language


Physical description

9.55 inches


154164669X / 9781541646698

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