Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Alexander the Great Failure

This new book about the failures of Alexander the Great looks like it will stir up a little scholarly controversy. Alexander may have been a formidable warrior and military genius, but Grainger points out that Alexander's administrative failures were directly responsible for the collapse of the empire he fought so hard to create. Grainger also corrects the common misconception (as a result of the west's somewhat restricted diet of Greek versions of history from this period) of Persia, not as the discordant mélange of peoples depicted in classical Greek accounts, but as the political and economic center of the civilized world.

"In this authoritative book John Grainger explores the foundations of Alexander's empire and why it did not survive after his untimely death in 323 BC. Alexander the Great's empire stretched across three continents and his achievements changed the nature of the ancient world. But for all his military prowess and success as a conqueror, John Grainger argues that he was one of history's great failures. Alexander's arrogance was largely responsible for his own premature death and he was personally culpable for the failure of his imperial enterprise. For Alexander was king of a society where the ruler was absolutely central to the well-being of society as a whole. When the king failed, the Macedonian kingdom imploded, something which had happened every generation for two centuries before him and happened again when he died. For the good of his people, Alexander needed an adult successor, but he refused to provide one while also killing any man who could be seen as one. The consequence was fifty years of warfare after his death and the destruction of his empire."
This book is scheduled for release in August, 2009.