ENVY OF THE GODS: Alexander the Great's Ill-Fated Journey Across Asia

John Prevas, Author . Da Capo $26 (272p) ISBN 978-0-306-81268-2

Once Alexander the Great had conquered the Mediterranean world, he turned his eyes eastward to Asia in what historian Prevas terms a "pathological compulsion" to expand his power. In a rather pedantic and workmanlike account, Prevas, who retraced Alexander's footsteps to Asia, examines this chapter of the Macedonian conqueror's life. According to Prevas (Hannibal Crosses the Alps ), Alexander exhibited a dark side that his biographers rarely account for. Prey to a megalomaniac desire to rule the world unrestrained by self-control, Alexander thought of himself as divine and expected his constituents and armies to worship him as well as obey his commands, however unreasonable. Prevas recounts Alexander's unstoppable drive to conquer Persepolis in Persia and avenge his father's death, which he attributed to Darius, destroying monuments, statues, every vestige of Persian culture. In India, when his army demanded to return home, Alexander instead marched them through the Gedrosian Desert, one of the most brutal places on earth. By the time he returned to Babylon, Alexander had lost the respect of his followers, and many scholars speculate that he met his death at the hands of one of his governors. Prevas's straightforward account of these exploits reveals no new information about the ruler; readers will do better with Paul Cartledge's new Alexander the Great (Forecasts, Aug. 16). 16 pages of b&w illus., maps. (Jan. 1)

Reviewed on: 12/06/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 242 pages - 978-0-306-81442-6
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