Writing 450 years after Alexander's death, Arrian had the advantage of hindsight and the unique ability to sift through important historical material which is now lost. He was able to judge the motives of many of the detractors of Alexander and to set the record straight in many instances. Alexander's aims have always been a topic of intense debate and this history will tell you what this brilliant tactician was trying to accomplish and why. From his first encounter with the Persians at the Battle of the Granicus to his last battle on the banks of the Indus River, thrill to the extraordinary exploits of Alexander the Great as he turns the ancient world upside down. After his passing, nothing would ever again be the same....
Lucius Flavius Arrianus, or Arrian (circa A.D. 85 to 90 - circa 146) was born in Nicomedia, a Greek town which at the time was a part of the vast Roman Empire. It is fairly certain that Arrian's ancestors had been citizens for some time because his family was prominent, and he himself seems to have held an important priesthood as a young man. Arrian studied Stoic philosophy with the famous Epictetus and has left us an excellent book on the subject based on his notes. One of his fellow students was the future emperor, Hadrian, whose close friend he remained in later life. Arrian was a wealthy man with a great sense of responsibility. He put his considerable abilities to work on behalf of society and served with distinction as a senator and as a military commander. In fact, he was the first Greek ever to command Roman legions. He later served as governor of Cappadocia. In his spare moments, Arrian wrote many important books, of which his Anabasis of Alexander is by far the most popular.
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This was a very good overview of Alexander of Macedon and the material was very well organized and presented. It begins with a short biographical sketch that brings us up to date on Alexander's youth, as this is missing from the account by Arrian. Arrian's writing is quite easy to digest and I had no problems understanding the chronology of events and the sometimes complex battle tactics. All in all, except in a few places, the action moves ahead briskly. The end of this recording is quite nice, as we are treated to several essays which successfully summarize and give us a greater perspective of Alexander and his time. The piece by Mary Reynault is particularly poignant. I was impressed by the narration, and the production values are extremely good.
If you don't know a thing about ancient history, this is probably not a good choice for you. However, if you have prepared yourself by doing some other readings (listenings) on ancient Greek and Near Eastern history, you will find this recording to be of excellent value and quite entertaining.
This audio book may not be for every one, but I thought it was fantastic. I liked the tone and speech of the narrator, the word usage of the translator and the style of the author. I listened to it several times and most likely will again. It is good history and a great story with very interesting accounts of incredible feats like capturing the Island City of Tyre, which had been unconquerable for centuries. I loved Alexander's response to the request of Darius (the king of Persia) to get his mother released, "If you want your mother, your wife and your children back, stand and fight for them and do not run away." As a leader of men, the only other person I would put in his league is George Washington.
What really stood out to me the most was the words and the way Arrian described Alexander's advance. Through out the book he emphasizes the speed with which Alexander moved from battle to battle. Sentences like "upon hearing this news Alexander was on the march again with greater rapidity than ever." Of the Persians you hear sentences like "when they saw that it was Alexander himself that was upon them, they incontinently fled." This exactly fits the "he goat which came from the west on the face of the whole earth and touched not the ground" of Daniel's vision. "There was no power in the ram (Persia) to stand before him. There was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very strong; and when he was strong, the great horn was broken." Alexander died within a year or two after conquering the world.
The writer of the appendix, much of which I did not agree with, was right in pointing out how Alexander's conquest, by giving the world a common language, prepared it for the introduction and spreading of the good news about God's salvation through Jesus Christ.
How could you not be amazed?
First of all the reader is magnificent, especially for reading history. He has the perfect intonation for every event and statement and is miraculous in his mood creation. Second, the story of Alexander is amazing not only for the history it recounts but for its revelation of the character of Alexander, the man. Someone who has no interest in military tactics or history may find it dry, but otherwise you will love it.
I was very interested in Alexander and chose this book. You have to take the good with the bad to absorb this book. To get to the really great strategy that Alexander used in battle you must listen to all the detail of how he managed each of his different regiments of troops. The good stuff lies between this information. The politician, the good and honorable man who let success take advantage of him, and the brillant tactician. If you are bored easily by repetitive details this one is not for you. It is arguably one of the most accurate versions of the life of Alexander. Keep in mind too that it is a very old text written when books portrayed history with little concern for entertainment value.
It was so slow to develop that I stopped listening and went on to another audiobook after the first two CDs, but fortunately, I came back later to hear more. As it turns out, the first three Cds were slow, and at times even brutally boring, but the remainder of the book, starting roughly with Alexander's entry into Persia, was outstanding. If you like history, don't miss this book!
I enjoy anything about Alexander, and especially excellent books. This one falls into that category. The narrator Charlton Griffin did and excellent job with the interpretation. I also suggest Alexander by Harold Lamb, it is also narrated by Charlton Griffin. If you are into historical fiction I would also recommend The Virtues of War by Steven Pressfield, narrated by John Lee. I have all three in my library and have listened to them more than once. You will not be wasting your points on any of these books. However this one is a MUST.
The unabridged classics from Audio Connoisseur, narrated by Charlton Griffin, are always a joy. Most of us busy 'history buffs' will never pick up this work by Arrian, so why not download this enjoyable audiobook?
An avid reader, who also loves to listen.
I have to admit, I wasn't expecting this book to be as good as it turned out to be but I was definitely pleasantly surprised. It was well written, well done and I really enjoyed the narrator too.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
First of all, there is so much more detail available on Alexander's life than I imagined. I am assuming that Arrian didn't make any of it up and that his sources didn't make any of it up and that the translator didn't smooth things over. Second, the details of his life, the true story, is so much more rich and interesting than the soundbite rendition most of us are familiar with. Beyond that, it's interesting to see what the state of biography or scholarly writing was in Arrian's time. To see the things that he focused on or didn't focus on. It would be interesting to know how much the translator had to massage the text to get it to sound comfortable to modern ears.
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