“Philip and Alexander: Kings and Conquerors” by Adrian Goldsworthy— Father and Son

Goldsworthy, Adrian. “Philip and Alexander: Kings and Conquerors”, Basic Books, 2020.

Father and Son

Amos Lassen

 Adrian Goldsworthy’s forthcoming “Philip and Alexander: Kings and Conquerors” is a look at a father and his son. Alexander the Great’s conquests shook the world. His army crossed thousands of miles, from northern Greece to modern Pakistan; he overthrew the greatest empires of his time and he built a new one in their place. He was a leader who led from the front and he was often wounded just as were his soldiers. Alexander claimed to be the son of a god, but he in actuality he was the son of Philip II. Writer Goldsworthy argues that without the work and influence of his father, it is highly doubtful that Alexander would have achieved so much.

When we think of Philip II of Macedon, we think of  an old man, with  one-eye who was lame from wounds. However, Philip was young and inexperienced when he came to power. He inherited a minor kingdom that was on the verge of being taken apart. He succeeded in making Macedonia dominant throughout Greece and e prepared Alexander to lead his army into war against Persia. It was Philip who created the armies that won Alexander’s victories and assured his place in world history.

This is the definitive dual biography of two men who together reshaped the ancient world. It is filled with scholarship, fine prose, deep analyses, and fair assessment. Goldsworthy examines the complex relationship between father and son and how the failure of the Greek city-states to stop them allowed them to continue to gain Macedonian expansion. We become very aware of the megalomania of Alexander’s near global conquests. Philip and Alexander, father and son, changed the world, for both good and bad.

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