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Alexander the Great: Journey to the End of the Earth

3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  295 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
"Alexander's behavior was conditioned along certain lines -- heroism, courage, strength, superstition, bisexuality, intoxication, cruelty. He bestrode Europe and Asia like a supernatural figure."

In this succinct portrait of Alexander the Great, distinguished scholar and historian Norman Cantor illuminates the personal life and military conquests of this most legendary of m
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 20th 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published December 1st 2005)
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William Winkle
Mar 04, 2013 William Winkle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Several reviews have criticized this book for adding nothing new to the field of Alexander scholasticism. To them, I would counter with this: I wanted a brief overview of who Alexander was and what he did. This book was exactly that, plus an excellent summation at the end of Alexander's influence on history. If Cantor has extrapolated or inferred at a few points, I'm fine with that. I didn't come here for exhaustive minutia -- I have other books on Alexander tagged for deeper reading. Rather, Ca ...more
Jun 14, 2012 Halik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Alexander the impulsive, Alexander the ambitious, Alexander the ruthless, Alexander the vicious, Alexander the megalomaniac, the warlord, the daring, the bisexual, the drunkard. And some call him the Great.

But was Alexander truly great or merely bloodthirsty? The whole point fades to nothingness when you consider that in those times bloodthirstiness WAS greatness. Born to Philip II of Macedon, who was a powerbroker and essentially set the base for Aexander's empire and a mother, Princess Olympia
James Piper
A textbook or scholarly writing on Alexander the Great. A bio and an attempt to answer the question: was he great? It would have helped if the author defined what it means to be great and hence create a measuring stick. He doesn't do that. He simply summarizes why he may or may not be considered great. Again, whatever that may be.

I didn't find anything new in this text.

What I found most interesting was the impact of christianity on modern western society and how that frames our views on the Gree
This would have been a lot better if 50 some pages were not taken up by information that had nothing to do with anything.

I have always been interested in Alexander and his family. I felt while this book was very informative, could have been written better and in an actual time line style. Instead the author skipped all over the place and i had to re-live Alexanders death in 4 different chapters.

Apr 03, 2015 Komal rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
Shawn Thrasher
I liked two things about this book. First, there really aren't all that many biographies, scholarly or otherwise, about Alexander the Great, and that fact is a small section of this book. Cantor (or Dee Ranieri? Whoever Dee is) went through each of these books, what was bad and good about each. I thought that was fascinating, actually - sort of meta. And two, Cantor calls a spade a spade. He comes down on the ancient Greeks for their pedophilia (such an unpleasant and weird juxtaposition, the me ...more
George Majchrzak
It's a survey course in Alexander studies.
Jun 16, 2012 Dev rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cantor provides a brief history of Alexander's campaign to conquer the world as well as some insight into the facets of his persona which created this drive to take on such a grand mission.  Starting with his consolidation of the Greek city states under his rule (with the exception of those Spartans who bow to no one), Alexander proceeds to make an example of those who defy him.  Those who defied him were were burnt to the ground with their women and children sold into slavery.

After consolid
Abdulla Tarabishy
I picked up this book expecting it to be an interesting and light introduction to Alexander the Great. A few pages in, I encountered too many obvious errors to continue. On page 3, Cantor summarizes the period of classical Greece, describing how the Greek city-states were in a state of perpetual war. He then points out some exceptions to this general rule, saying that,

"One was the period in the later fifth century BC when Athens and Sparta united during the Peloponnesian War against the menace
Tom Darrow
Apr 12, 2016 Tom Darrow rated it liked it
It's kind of hard to pin down exactly what this book is attempting to do and who it is aimed at. Relating to the former, he doesn't really have a clear thesis, he just kind of rambles on about Classical Greece and Alexander's life. In some places it is a character study, analyzing Alexander's motivations for doing what he did. In other places, it attempts to debunk some of the myths surrounding his life. In other places, it's basically a historiography of previous scholarship on Alexander. In pl ...more
Feb 26, 2016 Charlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very short summary of Alexander the Great's life, focusing on family dynamics, politics, and cultural norms. This could have been titled Alexander the Not So Great. The author tries to argue against any assumption he feels the evidence calls into question. Is he right? Sadly, I only know what I read in books and am hardly in a position to know if his version holds water or not. Robert Garland, who has studied Alexander's life in depth, would probably argue at least some of the points presented i ...more
Jun 21, 2010 melita rated it really liked it
Shelves: recentreads
i learned a lot of war strategy reading this book. I also learned a lot about persian and ancient greek culture. It was very easy to read, and was even great to read aloud to friends on a camping excursion! Norman Cantor put this together wonderfully because it wasn't a long ass biography full of crap no one cares about. it took pieces from those biogrpahies written by other scholars and just explained the interesting stuff. for someone like me who is not a huge history buff this was great! If y ...more
Oct 13, 2013 zni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ancient cultures have been my thing since i began to read History books, I was fascinated by the Heroism and incongruous character of the Greeks. I suppose this was also an off-shoot from my great interest in Ancient Egypt. During my first year at the university, Norman Cantor's "Inventing the Middle Ages" was introduced to me by a particularly erudite English professor. Since then, I've ben trying to obtain copies of his books (few are sold in local bookstores, or none at all). Cantor's writing ...more
Don Weidinger
Dec 22, 2012 Don Weidinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Homer 800BC honor and culture, athens the democratic republic with noisy politics as today, sparta the military state, the faults of hubris pride arrogance, Socrates-Plato-Aristotle-Alexander, reason over emotion, why believe what believe-socratic method, Plato dialogues the academy for science and philosophy, snake woman and abuse of 13 year old boys, Alexandria of 750K under water, jews were strong and dominant influence then and till 400AD, Caesar to Gaul move to politics, Phillip loved and A ...more
Daryl Nash
Jul 02, 2008 Daryl Nash rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The book is a bit like taking a short lecture series from a recognized scholar. An entertaining and opinionated overview of the life of Alexander the Great. Cantor attempts to counteract two millennia of "propaganda" and give us a more realistic view of Alexander, and he mostly succeeds (and succinctly!), though he occasionally drifts a bit too far into the negative, as in the last chapter, "How Great Was Alexander?"
Yeah, I didn't finish this one; there are much better books available on the subject. Cantor didn't really tell me anything new or in any sort of an interesting way. And the narrator of the audiobook version I was listening to had this annoying habit of whispering everything, like it was all a big secret. Beh.
Rosie Beck
Apr 01, 2010 Rosie Beck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost more a psychological study of a complicated man who was a hero in his time. A brilliant military strategist, at times compassionate, and then horrendously ruthless -"born into a pagan, pre-Christian world. He was courageous, cruel, superstitious, bisexual, and ultimately a somewhat mad alchoholic at the end.
Dec 09, 2011 Denise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2012
Might be a decent introduction for those new to the topic of Alexander the Great, but for people already familiar with his life and achievements, this book offers nothing new. Some of the details Cantor presents here as facts are pure conjecture, others simply inaccurate. Ultimately, this was not bad, but there are much better biographies out there.
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 15, 2011 Daniel Kukwa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
For such a short book, it’s packed with a multitude of cultural, social, economic, and anthropological detail…so much so that you can’t quite believe it’s all been successfully compressed into such a compact work. Neverthess, this a book that every student of antquity shouldn’t do without…and it’s easily my favourite Norman Cantor book to date.
Jun 16, 2009 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this book was informative, particularly for someone who knew as little as I did about the man as I went into it, I thought it was a bit all over the place chronologically and thematically. Also, it got repetetive at times. Still, I enjoyed it as a straightforward biography so long as one doesn't expect that much from it.
Kristine Morris
This is a very accessible introduction to Alexander the Great. Norman provides a basic biography, overview of Alexander's conquests, context of why he did what he did and an assessment of his impact on western history and civilization.
Trudy Pomerantz
Jan 12, 2016 Trudy Pomerantz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyab!e survey of Alexander

Worth a read for a brief introduction to Alexander's life. I enjoyed the final analysis comparing the pagan world of Greece with our modern world and the influence of Christianity.
Lee Kofman
I found this book enjoyable and informative, although some of the many descriptions of the military strategies and battles – I could do without them. The main thing I liked about the book was the discussion of antiquity in general, particularly that of Greece and Rome.
Jim Wiseman
Mar 19, 2015 Jim Wiseman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Must Read

The description of Alexander is very thorough. If you're interested in the ancient world, you'll enjoy this work. You'll see Alexander from several different angles, and you'll see why he is regards as such a great leader.
Jon Brady
Oct 17, 2012 Jon Brady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author does a good job of illustrating Alexander's personality,and the culture and times he lived in. He provides great insights to Greek culture, and how modern societies are still influenced by Alexander's actions.
Blake Cleckler
Jan 08, 2014 Blake Cleckler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short, entertaining, engaging, and quite revealing about the early Greek culture. Not overly thorough, like my old History teacher used to say about a good essay it was "like a woman's skirt should be, short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the subject."
Jun 23, 2015 Dunktdunk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grabbed this book out of the blue as I felt I needed a little history lesson. This was a very informative read that taught me several things that I had never previously known. It was a quick and informative read that I found rather enjoyable.
Oct 31, 2013 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good short biography covering the life of Alexander the Great.
Dec 18, 2014 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy quick read, brings to light the man who we know as "Alexander the Great". Makes you think he isn't so great.
Clayton Chase
The culture and times that Alexander grew up in is the real story. Fascinating journey indeed.
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Born in Winnipeg, Canada, Cantor received his B.A. at the University of Manitoba in 1951. He went on to get his master's degree in 1953 from Princeton University and spent a year as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. He received his doctorate from Princeton in 1957 under the direction of the eminent medievalist Joseph R. Strayer.

After teaching at Princeton, Cantor moved to Columbia Univ
More about Norman F. Cantor...

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