In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great

A Journey from Greece to Asia

by Michael Wood

It is hard to imagine that only 13 years passed between the day Alexander the Great ascended the throne of Macedon and his death in Babylon in 323 B.C. His 22,000 mile, 10-year world conquest stretched from Greece to India and established the young warrior firmly in the folklore of every part of his known world. Historian Wood (author of In Search of the Trojan War) trekked Alexander's path, and the result is this companion volume to the BBC/PBS series of the same name. It is still pretty rough travel, requiring camel, horses, sturdy shoes and a variety of hardy vehicles to places that are stil some of the world's trouble spots and where little seems to have changed since the Macedonians marched east. But it is the way Wood weaves together a number of fascinating threads that makes Alexander more than the story of a rough trip. He explores how, 2000 years after his death, tles of Alexander are still told in marketplaces across Central Asia, and how his image appears in the art of lands as far from his path as China. Alexander's place in history is revealed through his contemporaries as well as the revisionist historians of later centuries. Wood wisely takes the time to set the scene: Why did a 20-year-old ruler of a bellicose backwater like Macedon feel he could challenge the mighty Persion empire -- and then keep going? On the other end of the time line, Wood shows how some of the burning issues of Alexander's time are still some of the hot button topics in that part of the world today. Illustrated with 112 images (56 in color), this is a marvelous adventure and delicious taste of history.

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