The Generalship Of Alexander The Great

The Generalship Of Alexander The Great

"A thrilling portrayal of Alexander's military career and genius."--American Historical ReviewIn a brief and meteoric life (356-323 BC) the greatest of all conquerors redirected the course of world history. Alexander the Great accomplished this feat with a small army-no more than 40,000 men-and a constellation of bold, revolutionary ideas about the conduct of war and the n...

DownloadRead Online
Title:The Generalship Of Alexander The Great
Author:J.F.C. Fuller
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Generalship Of Alexander The Great Reviews

  • Glen

    Very thorough description of the Great Alex and his endless quest to pacify the world. Tactics to grand strategy, this book has it all.

  • Jacob

    The Generalship of Alexander the Great is not primarily a biography but rather, as the title indicates, an analysis of the Macedonian's generalship and statesmanship. Writing "the art of war ... was the same in Alexander's day as it is now" J. F. C. Fuller presents the campaigns and policies of the Macedonian as examples from which to derive useful lessons. At the Camberley Staff College he used Alexander's operations as lesson material and argues "had statesmen and generals-in-chief been acquai

    The Generalship of Alexander the Great is not primarily a biography but rather, as the title indicates, an analysis of the Macedonian's generalship and statesmanship. Writing "the art of war ... was the same in Alexander's day as it is now" J. F. C. Fuller presents the campaigns and policies of the Macedonian as examples from which to derive useful lessons. At the Camberley Staff College he used Alexander's operations as lesson material and argues "had statesmen and generals-in-chief been acquainted with the history of Greece in the fought century B.C., they might have avoided many of the colossal blunders perpetrated by them in the Second World War." While giving civil and military leaders much to think about, Fuller's book will also appeal to laymen as well.

    Historians will be interested in and pleased with the author's sources. Fuller utilizes many primary sources, most notably Arrian's

    , and discloses where these sources conflict, as they often do over battle fatalities and troop estimates. Many secondary sources, like W. W. Tarn's two-volume

    , are also used along with the works of Plato and Clausewitz. The sources are good and well documented for easy reference.

    The book's organization divides it into two halves and, for the most part, is reader-friendly. The first section is devoted to chronologically summarizing the Macedonian's exploits while the second half devotes a chapter to examining all of Alexander's battles, then one to his sieges, et cetera. This arrangement makes it easy to both get a good overview of the conqueror's accomplishments and to directly compare his battles with each other. The only drawback is that this makes it difficult to place the battles in their chronological and political setting. Another helpful feature of the book's organization is the inclusion of chapters on the political background of Alexander's age and on the Macedonian army. These, along with information on the Persian Empire and the geography of the region, make the volume accessible to the general public.

    The account of Alexander's life and deeds is set out roughly chronologically and progresses logically. The narrative is pleasantly interspersed with biographical stories about Alexander such as when he approached the Delphic oracle and extracted the prophecy "thou art invincible, my son!" and the account of his visit to the tomb of Achilles. However, the reader looking for a biography of Alexander would be better to look elsewhere. Even with these interesting tidbits, the strategical narrative moves quickly and understandably.

    Alexander began his career by securing Macedonia's borders and then his position as hegemon of the Hellenic League. He did the first with quick campaigns against tribes on the Danube and the second by razing Thebes after it resisted his authority (a move he later regretted). After guaranteeing the loyalty of Hellas, Alexander crossed the Hellespont into Anatolia and won his first major victory at the River Granicus. Once Darius is defeated in battle and assassinated by one of his own satraps Alexander became king of Persia and changed his focus from one of conquest to one of administering and unifying his empire. Fuller explains how "as an administrator, Alexander build on what existed, reformed and experimented with it as far as time permitted, and did not adhere to any system that failed to stand the test of practice." Many of these reform policies angered the Macedonian veterans but "they belonged to the old world, and ... the new ... was comprehensible to Alexander alone."

    The analysis of Alexander's policies, which were relatively egalitarian and very lenient to his defeated enemies, is excellent. As Fuller points out, "throughout his life Alexander consistently subordinated strategy to policy, which is the essence of grand strategy" and the analysis of the battles and strategy in the book's second section is vigorous and comprehensible. Fuller, who rose to the rank of major general, carefully lays out the military units and commanders involved on both sides and summarizes the battle action succinctly and in a manner that non-experts can easily grasp. A map is provided for each battle (two for the battle of Arbela) and, while not of excellent quality, all the maps are sufficient.

    Fuller traces the advance of the Macedonians to India where they refused to go on. Alexander then returned to his empire where he reformed corruption and dissent which had arisen in his absence. Shortly after that, the great king died at the age of thirty-three and his empire was divided up amongst his top generals. Fuller goes into speculation on what Alexander would have done had he lived (deciding that he would have consolidated his empire) and concludes that "Alexander's conquest of the Persian empire, his new cities and financial reforms, were to lead to the rise of the Hellenistic kingdoms, and through the Roman empire which absorbed them, to lay the foundations of European culture and civilization." Following that, the author returns to his purpose and in nine pages argues how, had lessons from Alexander been applied, costly mistakes made in World War II could have been avoided. Throughout, Fuller shows the applicability of Alexander's examples with numerous accounts of emulation by such figures as Caesar, Hannibal, and Napoleon.

    J. F. C. Fuller's prose is clear and concise, the organization of the book is superb, and all points and information are presented in a coherent manner. The first half especially will appeal to casual readers and historians will find the work to be very useful as the starting point for further research into any aspects of Alexander's life and career. The author is careful to show Alexander's faults along with his gifts and avoids casting the Persians as hopelessly inept. He proves his thesis and convincingly argues for paying greater attention to the lessons of antiquity lest generals and statesmen remain doomed to repeat history's mistakes.

  • Calypso Kenney

    This was a five star book for the detailed and rich maps of battle plans, and the beautiful categorization of the different sorts of attacks Alexander did. I've never seen a book discuss this before so clearly. What I didn't like was the tone of the author: he idolizes Alexander, and refuses to believe he could do anything wrong. Every cruel act Alexander committed, he dismisses as necessary or fiction. Without evidence! He even says that Alexander's relationships with men are fictional, and mad

    This was a five star book for the detailed and rich maps of battle plans, and the beautiful categorization of the different sorts of attacks Alexander did. I've never seen a book discuss this before so clearly. What I didn't like was the tone of the author: he idolizes Alexander, and refuses to believe he could do anything wrong. Every cruel act Alexander committed, he dismisses as necessary or fiction. Without evidence! He even says that Alexander's relationships with men are fictional, and made-up by later historians to slander his character. BUT THERE IS ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND TEXTUAL EVIDENCE FOR THESE RELATIONSHIPS. He also wrote this in the 50s, so there are way too many references to communism and how the current world is a replica in many ways of Alexander's. Other than these weird asides by the author, the actual bulk of the book was still pretty riveting.

  • Andreas Michaelides

    A wonderful step by step description of Alexander the great strategy and leadership. I enjoyed very much and it showed me the grandure of the man.

  • Malak ELZAWAWI

    THE BOOK STARTED WHEN OLYMPIA THE MOTHER OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT DREAMED THAT BESIDE HER A SNAKE AND AFTER SHE WAKE UP ALEXANDER WAS BORN

  • John

    This book took a bit of effort to get through, but in the end it was well worth the effort. Of particular interest, in the context of America's difficulties in the Middle East, were Fuller's observations of the statesmanship of Alexander the Great. While Alexander's abilities as a warrior are undoubted, his conquests were made possible by his nuanced treatment of his former enemies once the latter were vanquished.

    Of interest was Fuller's assertion that victory in war is not an end in itself, bu

    This book took a bit of effort to get through, but in the end it was well worth the effort. Of particular interest, in the context of America's difficulties in the Middle East, were Fuller's observations of the statesmanship of Alexander the Great. While Alexander's abilities as a warrior are undoubted, his conquests were made possible by his nuanced treatment of his former enemies once the latter were vanquished.

    Of interest was Fuller's assertion that victory in war is not an end in itself, but merely a means to the end of peace.

    Policymakers in the United States could do worse than to read this work from 57 years ago, as its reflections are particularly apposite to the situation America faces today.

  • David Miller

    This is a really old fashioned kind of book, with a lot of musing about manly heroism and the "brotherhood of great captains." It's also a good history of its kind, depicting a reasonable reconstruction of the events of Alexander's reign with due regard to the reliability of sources and an acknowledgment of the uncertainty inherent in peering back to classical times. Fuller loses me sometimes in the nitty gritty of tactics, but he clearly demonstrates how Alexander's tactics, strategy, and polit

    This is a really old fashioned kind of book, with a lot of musing about manly heroism and the "brotherhood of great captains." It's also a good history of its kind, depicting a reasonable reconstruction of the events of Alexander's reign with due regard to the reliability of sources and an acknowledgment of the uncertainty inherent in peering back to classical times. Fuller loses me sometimes in the nitty gritty of tactics, but he clearly demonstrates how Alexander's tactics, strategy, and politics formed a coherent system that was strong enough to turn the world upside down.

    As much as the Great Man theory is a flawed way of looking at why anything happens in history, there's no denying that history has been populated by a series of incredible people. Fuller's treatment demonstrates that, whatever other factors were involved in ushering in the Hellenistic age, Alexander's personality had a great deal to do with it.

    The history touches on a few other areas, but the overwhelming focus is on the military, which Fuller understands deeply. All too often, we conceive of history as a series of battles, and when your primary protagonists are generals and kings it seems impossible to do otherwise. But understanding war is important, and effective conquest really does change the world. There's no question as to why Alexander is worth reading about today.

  • Stephanie

    This is divided into two main parts: a short biography of Alexander, and an analysis of his major acts of warfare and of his generalship .

    Part one was not great. Fuller had some biases that kept bleeding out into his conclusions.

    Part two was very thoughtful and analytical. I liked his step-by-step walk throughs of the battles and sieges. Nice.

  • Dave

    I feel like a bit of a fool giving this just two stars, as it is an acknowledged classic, and I did not read the whole thing. In some ways I could not bring myself to do so. After his general sketch, Fuller's narrative gets way too technical for me, though I admit that others might enjoy this style. I confess also that his near adoration of Alexander annoyed me. I can understand having a generally positive view of a complicated man. But Fuller ends up explaining away even his worst deeds, like t

    I feel like a bit of a fool giving this just two stars, as it is an acknowledged classic, and I did not read the whole thing. In some ways I could not bring myself to do so. After his general sketch, Fuller's narrative gets way too technical for me, though I admit that others might enjoy this style. I confess also that his near adoration of Alexander annoyed me. I can understand having a generally positive view of a complicated man. But Fuller ends up explaining away even his worst deeds, like the execution of the entirely innocent Parmenio.

    For full disclosure, I did not buy chunks of Fuller's analysis because I see Alexander as a pop-philosopher at best. He was a man of action and power, not sober reflection. Thus, I don't see him having a unified advance 'grand strategy.' Instead, I see a fierce and brilliant warrior perhaps stumbling into one. But whether planned or not, the chaos after his death shows us that it really did not work.

    If you are looking for a range of opinions on Alexander and want a strong 'pro' position, the first 100 pages or so of this book would do nicely. For an almost entirely opposite take on Alexander, I recommend Victor Davis Hanson's chapter on him in his book 'Carnage and Culture.'

  • Christian Diebold

    This biography is as the title suggests limited to the military achievements of Alexander the Great. It is after-all through his military campaigns and conquests that we are chiefly aware of Alexander. His conquest of Persia and its subsequent Hellenization have had enormous and far-reaching effects on world history. Written by one of the foremost military thinkers and historians of the early 20th Century, it is naturally well written and thoroughly researched. Fuller details Alexanders' profici

    This biography is as the title suggests limited to the military achievements of Alexander the Great. It is after-all through his military campaigns and conquests that we are chiefly aware of Alexander. His conquest of Persia and its subsequent Hellenization have had enormous and far-reaching effects on world history. Written by one of the foremost military thinkers and historians of the early 20th Century, it is naturally well written and thoroughly researched. Fuller details Alexanders' proficiency in all of the then known kinds of warfare. From set piece land battles to sieges to small scale campaigns to counterinsurgency. In all these Alexander and his men proved themselves masters. The picture we get of Alexander from the descriptions offered by Fuller and his sources is a man of supreme confidence and endurance. For Alexander there was always a solution to a problem. This is a fine work of military history and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.