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Alexander the Great, with autograph of Lewis V. Cummings
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
Like most bios this one starts out a bit slow with all the heavy-duty background info. about the orgins of the Macedonians and the development of their monarchy over the centuries. Cumming's rather wordy explantions does not make this difficult historical background easy to comprehend either. Despite what is purported as a readable work, the first 50 pages are a real push!
Once we pass with background and get into Alexander himself the narrative start to pick up. Still, Cummings is fond of erodite expressions and typically English round-about explanations. These often cloud the narrative. One reviewer noted that since Cummings's was a cartographer how come there are not more maps in the book! This would certainly help as he is fond of discussing all sorts of obscure place names that Alexander allegedly trammped through. Most bios don't go into such detail on the locales because many of these places aren't around anymore. They certainly don't debate the topic as much as here. For all the descriptions about locales that the author may have seen in person, his actual discussions about Alexander are limited. There are a few good points made here and there, and when not mentioning obsure hill towns in detail the narrative can actually be good at times.
Its hard to figure where Cummings stands with Alex. One gets the impression he is firm admirer in the first half of his career up until the death of Darius III, but after that he believes his subject just becomes a brutal conqueror. Some good points here that could have been debated more. Overall this is an average bio at best. I would recommend Wilcken's from this period of research more as its concise, debates important points, and is a better read. This would not be a good first work to read on Alexander in my opinion. Having read other better works the reader might like to take a look at this one just to compare. Not one of the better older Alex bios out there for sure.
As others have mentioned, however, the book is slightly deficient map-wise. As I was reading the first chapter, "Philip of Macedon", I started looking at the various maps throughout the book to try and locate the place-names being discussed. The first chapter desperately needs a map! With regards to the remaining maps, they are difficult to read due to lack of shading to indicate the principal bodies of water. Improvement of the existing maps plus inclusion of one or two additional maps would add much to the enjoyment of this book. It would also be nice to have a portrature of Alexander and some of the other characters mentioned in the text. I'm sure the archaelogical findings of the last 70 years could be used to add photos and illustrations to make this already great book superb! Maybe this can be done in a future edition.