In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great: A Journey from Greece to Asia

Front Cover
University of California Press, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
1 Review
Between 334 and 324 B.C. the Macedonian army, led by Alexander the Great, marched relentlessly across Asia. An event of bravery and cruelty, endurance and greed, Alexander's expedition was a turning point in human history. His conquest opened up contacts between Europe and Asia, unleashing astonishing historical energies that continue to affect the world today. This extraordinary book recreates Alexander's 22,000 mile, ten-year expedition from Greece to India, following as much as possible the actual route of his journey.

Historian Michael Wood traversed seventeen countries, trekking through the Zagros Mountains to find the lost site of Alexander's battle at the "Persian Gates," drinking black tea in the Hindu Kush, listening to ancient stories of Sikander e Aazem, and crossing the Makran Desert with twenty-three camels. He traveled with Lebanese traders, Iranian pilgrims, Afghan guerrillas, and other local people on a journey that took him through many of the twentieth century's major trouble spots, including Beirut and Kurdistan.

Wood bases his account of Alexander's conquest on the texts of Greek and Roman historians, but he also reconsiders the Greek adventure in terms of modern ideas on colonialism, orientalism, and racism. The Macedonian conquest, which has mainly been seen through Greek sources, is illuminated for the first time by medieval travelers' narratives, newly discovered oracles, and prophecies on papyrus or clay tablet.

At the heart of Wood's powerful story is the towering, enigmatic character of Alexander the Great. He ascended the throne at twenty, conquered much of the known world before he was thirty, and was dead by the age of thirty-two. A ruthless politician, brilliant military tactician, devoted son, family man, lover of both women and men, Alexander was known for his extreme generosity as well as his ferocious cruelty. Following in the conqueror's footsteps centuries later, Michael Wood overhears the words of the fabled Greek mermaid who calls to passing sailors: "Great Alexander still lives!"
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - moncur_d - LibraryThing

interesting account of a journey through turkey, iran, iraq afghanistan and pakistan following the route of alexander the great. As always Wood's command of the sources is impeccable but what truly ... Read full review

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT: A Journey from Greece to Asia

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

British historian Wood (The Magician's Doubts, 1995, etc.) absorbingly recreates Alexander the Great's epic conquests, in a tie-in to a series to air on PBS in early 1998. Alexander ascended the ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
5
Prelude
16
THE INVASION OF ASIA
31
SON OF GOD
57
LORD OF THE WORLD
77
THE ROAD TO SAMARKAND
123
TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH
159
NOSTOI THE RETURNS
199
Epilogue
227
Table of Dates
229
Cast of Characters
231
Sources and Bibliography
234
Acknowledgements
239
Index
241
Picture Credits
246
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

About the author (2001)

Michael Wood is a writer and historian living in England. His book, In Search of the Trojan War (1989), was on The New York Times Best Seller list and accompanied a PBS television series. His other books include In Search of the Dark Ages and Domesday: A Search for the Roots of England.

Bibliographic information