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Alexander the Great and His Time: Library Edition [Anglais] [CD]

Agness Savill , Nadia May

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Amazon.com: 3.5 étoiles sur 5  4 commentaires
10 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Like a missing chapter from "The Lives of the Saints" 27 avril 2005
Par Inagreeance - Publié sur Amazon.com
The author's unthinking child-like adoration becomes extremely tedious. Alexander is characterized both as a saint and a completely flawless rational being.

This hagiography is written in 1959 by an English aristocrat. Alexander is recast as an English Imperialist with Victorian-style morality and modern rational world view. Yet the embellishment of the past 3 millenia is also reiterated uncritically.

In the author's view, everything Alexander the Great did IS great. All of the subjugated peoples were so lucky to have been bettered by his rule. All of his motives are unimpeachable. All aspects of his personality, abilities, and deeds are of heroic proportions. The author accepts every positive historical exaggeration and legend of his motives and exploits. All criticisms made in other chronicles (megalomania, greed, alcololism, mental instability, even simple lapses of judgement) are summarily discarded.

The first half of the book is the history of Alexander. The third quarter is a repetitive summary of historical sources elucidating Alexander's god-like personal characteristics. The final quarter of the book is a broad summary of Greek culture.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A heavily romanticized perspective... 28 août 2006
Par David Israel - Publié sur Amazon.com
Agnes Savill's book, Alexander the Great and His Time, provides the listener with an in depth review of Alexander's most famous battles, during his conquest of Asia. Also, the book attempts to justify it's overly-favorable presentation of the life of this remarkably energetic and successful conquerer of the near east. However, Savill relies heavily on and quotes from W.W. Tarn almost to the exclusion of so many other excellent scholars (see Tarn's works on Alexander III, volumes I & II, circa 1948).

Tarn, in turn, borrows heavily from Arrian (Lucius Flavius Arrianus, 85 - 146 AD), who was a brilliant Greek commander in the Roman army and a friend of the Emperor Hadrian. Arrian selected the writings of Aristobulus and Ptolemy, as his primary sources, for his own work on Alexander; choosing to exclude much of the negative writings on Alexander that surfaced shortly after his death (predominantly by his detractors, who had their own political motives for vilifying Alexander). Aristobulus and Ptolemy were both contemporaries of Alexander the Great; Ptolemy serving as a distinguished General in the Macedonian Army, under Alexander, while Aristobulus may have been an military engineer or a civilian. Following Alexander's death, in 323BC, Ptolemey ruled over Egypt (begining the Ptolemeic Dynasty, which ended with the death of Cleopatra) and eventually wrote his memoirs, which depicted Alexander in a very favorable light. Neither Ptolemy's nor Aristobulus's accounts of Alexander have survived the ages, and Arrian's "Anabasis of Alexander" is how we know of these first hand accounts of Alexander. Absolutely no first hand accounts of Alexander exist today.

I found Savill's work to be overtly romanticized. One could draw the conclusion that she has "fallen in love" with her own idealized version of Alexander. The rare character flaws and errors of judgment that she does bother to mention, in this book, she immediately takes an apologetic tone for and subsequently follows with some mitigating explanation for Alexander's behavior, and why it was justified. The listener can not be sure that he/she is getting a balanced view of Alexander's life or, if they are getting an idealized perspective from a 'love struck fan!' One almost gets the impression, from Savill's writing, that Alexander was near perfect and could do no wrong. We are treated to a detailed history of Alexander's remarkable achievements, his strengths and successes, but never get to really know him because we never see his more human side (the side with blemishes and imperfections).

Savill, however, is unapologetic in her view of mysticism. The author goes to great lengths to point out every instance of Alexander consulting the ancient mystics (who somehow always manage to accurately predict his future). There are no examples given of the mystics ever giving Alexander incorrect or even vague predictions. Savill does confess, later in the book, that she has a personal bias in favor of mysticism. That bias is acutely evident in this book.

In the final analysis, I can not recommend this book to anyone seeking a strictly scholarly presentation. Those who share, as I do, a favorable view of Alexander but who desire a balanced presentation of the facts, would do better to look elsewhere. Consider acquiring Arrian's writings directly (available here on Amazon, in audio cd format), as opposed to Savill's interpretation of Tarn's interpretation of Arrian!

One last point, while I generally enjoy all of the English dialects (from the various parts of the British Empire), the reader reads too fast and is hard to understand, in some places. Much worse, however, is the audio editing. It sounds as if the book was originally recorded as an abridged edition and they subsequently went back and added the unabridged "fill in" text; but at a much lower decibel setting. The net effect, is that the volume and overall tonal quality of the readers voice changes frequently; as often as several times a minute.

I give this audio book 2 1/2 stars out of 5. While I enjoyed much of the historical content, I felt that I had to filter it through Savill's blatently romantic lens. The poor audio editing accounts for a good part of the subtraction of 2 1/2 stars, in my rating.
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A wonderfully lucid portrayal of grandiose yet noble ambition 23 juillet 2007
Par Patrick Hogan - Publié sur Amazon.com
As I read the other reviews I am left to ponder why I find this book (audio CD) so fascinating. I thoroughly enjoy Agnes Savill's indulgence in trying to fathom the essence of this 'as large as life' character, Alexander of Macedonia. We need more leaders of this stature, and more authors like Agnes Savill. For a wonderful mix of Alexander's biography, detailed historical context and well-researched personal insight (keep a map by your side), this is a great read!
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Odd Book -Timed To Be Reissued with Movie 19 septembre 2006
Par Marco Antonio Abarca - Publié sur Amazon.com
When Oliver Stone's "Alexander" was scheduled to be released the people at Blackstone Audio must have wanted to cash in on the opportunity. Agnes Savill's "Alexander the Great and His Time" had to be the cheapest book they could license for an audio production.

I would agree completely with the earlier reviews. The book's only saving grace is the inherent drama of Alexander's life. If Savill had written a straight biography of Alexander, it would have been a half way decent book. However, half the book is her "take" on Greek culture. All and all, a mediocre production.
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