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Alexander the Great Review by Kerri Schnetz

Ruth Sheppard
Osprey Publishing
Osprey Direct UK
PO. Box 140
Wellingborough, Northants, NN8 2FA, UK
Osprey Direct, North America
c/o Random House Distribution Center
400 Hahn Road
Westminister, MD 21157

Alexander the Great is a really beautiful hardback book. This is the kind of book people without small children have sitting on their living room coffee table. The paper is really high quality and thick; the binding and cover are beautiful and sturdy. There are many colorful drawings, maps, pictures, and prints of paintings throughout to illustrate the uniforms, weapons, and architecture of the time.

The book starts out about 500 BC and gives the background of the Persian and Greek empires. It tells about the types of warfare and armor before Alexander's time and continues with the improvements made in his lifetime. It tells about the terrain and why certain peoples fought the way they did. It goes on to tell of the rise and fall of leaders and conquests and sets up the kingdoms, countries, and rulers at the time of Philip II, who was Alexander's father. It gives us a good history of Philip II and his accomplishments, which would later be overshadowed by his son Alexander the Great.

We learn many details of warfare, court life, and dress along with the political intrigue and the constant grab for power in these empires. I do like the way the book reveals the evil of ambition and yet does not give us horrific details of barbarianism that we really do not need.

This book is a straightforward, readable book of the life and times of Alexander the Great. It takes us through his battles one by one, country by country, and shows us the magnitude of his accomplishments in 11 short years. He traveled thousands of miles over every type of terrain and conquered a massive empire. He never lost a battle or the loyalty of his men. He died at the age of 32, but the cause of his death is really not known. While at a drinking party, he experienced a sharp pain in his chest. He went home slept, bathed, and continued drinking. He began to lose the ability to speak and died on June 10 or 11, 323. The book ends by telling us briefly of the successors.

This is a great resource book for studying about Persia and Greece and Alexander the Great in particular. I recommend this book especially for boys because they seem to like everything warlike.

I enjoyed this book too. It is well written and has so many interesting pictures. There is just something fascinating about ancient times. The price, though, is prohibitive at $24.95. I am not sure I could justify it in my homeschool budget. But if money isn't a problem, then this book is well worth it.

Product review by Kerri Schnetz, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2008