CONQUEROR AND HERO: The Search for Alexander by Stephen Krensky

CONQUEROR AND HERO: The Search for Alexander

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A spinoff from the ""Search for Alexander"" exhibit--but save for the reminder in the subtitle and the photographic representation of a few of the objects exhibited, the book bears no relation to the show (which was pegged on certain recent archaeological finds and their possible historical significance). This is simply a plodding, babyish account of Alexander's life and career--which evinces no particular familiarity with the material (the description of the phalanx, for instance, is incomprehensible), no ability to give it shape or meaning--contained, moreover, in a drab-looking package (in addition to the occasional black-and-white photographs, there are some drawings in the style of 19th-century wood engravings). The book does explain Alexander's background; indicate that he was ambitious, rash, and clever; recount the course of his campaigns against the Persians, etc.; suggest why he succeeded or failed. When Krensky tries to say something more, it almost inevitably turns out to be infelicitous (e.g., ""like a bull that will charge at anything red, Alexander charged any people who wished to stay independent""). One starts yearning for the old Landmark and Horizon volumes. But where a felt need exists for any biography of Alexander, however dull, this at least tries to faithfully represent what is known.

Pub Date: July 31st, 1981
Publisher: Little, Brown