02. Monographs on Alexander, 2.02 Life, Alexander - Non Fiction Book, Alexander's Alexandria

English Book Review/Collaboration: “Alessandro Magno. La storia, il viaggio dell’ultimo eroe” by Antonio Montesanti

Recensione in italiano: QUI.

Good morning everyone, good Sunday!

Today I ‘m happy to be able to talk about a book that I really enjoyed:

Alessandro Magno

la storia, il viaggio dell’ultimo eroe

by Antonio Montesanti

published by Ginevra Bentivoglio EditoriA

A skilled strategist, leader and powerful ruler, Alexander the Great of Macedonia, a hero who perceived himself as a new Heracle or a new Achilles, was, first of all, a “traveler”. And whoever approaches the pages of this work, in which the entire story of the great Macedonian is retraced, prepares, in fact, to make a long and fascinating journey… An exploration through those places where the man Alexander made the luminous path that would have led him to become a myth; constantly aspiring, as the historian Lynette Mitchell recounts in the preface to the book, “…to become the greatest of all heroes…”. With full historical rigor, and without concessions to the fabula, to lord it over, in a story supported by a powerful bibliographic volume, are the facts “as they were”. Facts whose re-enactment, stripped of easy frills, will be able to involve and drag every reader into the ancient and immortal history (or journey) of the last hero.

Antonio Montesanti (Rome, 1973) is a researcher at the “University of Exeter” (United Kingdom). Archaeologist, historian and also journalist, he is co-founder of Instoria, online magazine of history and information and author of various publications, including the essay Hipponion: storia e archeologia di Vibo Valentia (GB EditoriA, 2009).

5 stars.

Reading time: from 5th to 17th August 2019.

First of all I would like to thank Antonio, the author of the book: if I had the pleasure of reading this book and today I can tell you about it it’s only thanks to him and his interest because I have ordered it several times on the various on-line shops but I have never been able to find it, neither this in an economic version nor the first one in a bound version. I wrote to the editor but he told me that he is out of print and they no longer have copies available. Then I contacted Antonio and he was very kind in helping me in my research that otherwise wouldn’t have been successful. I’m trying even today to order it on sites that are unusual for me (most of the purchases I make on IBS.it) because I’d still like to have it on paper format, even if I’ve already read it.

The points in favor of this book are many:

  • every chapter starts with a quote and I really like to start a new chapter with a quote that sums it up a bit. I like it in novels and I also like it in biographies;
  • the narration is clear, fluent, doesn’t waste time in the superfluous but explains, clarifies and gives an overall picture when needed;
  • at the end of the book there are the chronology and maps divided by chapter;
  • the author has done an enormous amount of research because the bibliography is very long and he cites many texts and articles that are a valid starting point for those wishing to deepen the theme further.

I really enjoyed some in-depth studies not strictly necessary but very useful to clarify situations: for example, the introduction that explains how Philip took power, tells us about his genius in reforming ancient Macedonia is very beautiful; with Alexander on the other side of the world the author doesn’t lose sight of Macedonia and Greece and he explains to us what happened under the regency of Antipater. Chapter XXI speaks of the Hellenization of the world, it makes us notice how Alexander left his mark anyway and I found it very beautiful, as well as the following chapter, the XXII, which tries to investigate the real personality of the Macedonian king.

The few points against which I’d like to point out are very few and that’s that Hephaestion is nominated but without ever referring to him as a lover:

“most sincere friend, person closest to him, deputy in command and probably the only man who understood him, inwardly and politically in every gesture…”.

pag. 275

He doesn’t speak of homosexuality as, it’s fair to point out that, he doesn’t dwell too much on sexuality and on female loves in general. There are a few small misprint here and there.

What more than anything else I’d like to report and complain about this book is its unavailability. If it hadn’t been for the help of the author who sent me the digital file (and for this I thank him once again) I wouldn’t have been able to read it and it would have been a shame. Unfortunately it took me so long to read it because I used my Amazon Fire which is not very suitable for reading and I often had to interrupt it because it gave me a headache. There were times I had to stop reading even though I wanted to continue because I had a headache and, unfortunately, I’m a headache sufferer. Apart from that, my “effort” to read it has been well rewarded! However, apart from this small digression, it’s a real shame that this book cannot be bought because it’s a valid tool for the more and less expert of Alexander: it represents an interesting reading that should be done anyway. So, if someone from Ginevra Bentivoglio EditoriA were to read this review by chance, I’d like them to seriously consider reprinting this beautiful volume (together with Alexander Islamicus. L’immagine di Alessandro Magno nelle fonti arabo-islamiche medievali by Vincenzo La Salandra, thanks!) because it’s worth reading!

Read it, even if you have to rely on libraries and thanks to Antonio, thank you, for real!

As always, I leave you the quotes HERE.

Have a nice day and thank you for reading,

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