Book Review: The Generalship of Alexander the Great

The Generalship of Alexander the Great, Author: J.F.C. Fuller

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press (August 21, 1989)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0306803712
ISBN-13: 978-0306803710

Purchased at Amazon

The Generalship of Alexander the Great depicts the short life of Alexander 356–323 B.C.E, the battles fought, and the understanding as to how a man with an army of 40,000 soldiers swept through Greece, mid-east – Asia-minor, India and Egypt.

As a historian, JFC Fuller depicts Alexander the Great of Macedon with clear concise information; With many new revisions of the life and times of Alexander, Fuller’s work seems to be lacking some of the new questions, and findings posed. Albeit these factors of updated research, this piece of work is still very important. For those who want a better understanding to the leadership of Alexander the Great, this book is something to look into.

Fuller divides his study of Alexander into two parts: The first part is labeled as “The Record” which gives a summary of the political, and social climate of Greece, of what has led up to the turmoil, and the soon – to – be social unification that will grow from Macedonia and will make it’s way into Athens by the time Alexander’s first movement begins. The first part of Fuller’s work gives the reader a better understanding of Alexanders youth, studies, tactics, and training, he also delves into the psychology of Alexander, and discusses his temperament. Fuller also discusses in the first part the geography of which Alexander will conquer, and/or deal with in alliance. The final part of “The Record” is the structure of the Macedonian army, and the functions it could carry out, and the logistic standpoint of his forces. Unfortunately, this segment of the book is shorter than I had expected from Fuller.

The second part being the “Analysis” explains some of Alexanders battles in-depth, Granicus and Hydaspes to be exact and ends with the Statesmanship of Alexander.

My opinion: All in all, the book is a great, fast, and concise read. I am a fan of J.F.C Fuller’s work, his history, and the witty remarks he leaves on all his published work. The book details specific information that is necessary to those who need to know how a man with only 40,000 soldiers stampeded victoriously throughout an empire. I was very happy to see that Fuller did not beat around the bush with detail regarding the battles, nor did he reduce any of the information of the battles fought. Albeit there are greater (simple too.** Like a giant line of Phalanx against a bunch of untrained citizen soldiers**) factors which proved Alexander to come out victorious, this book shows how his revolutionary tactics changed the face of war indefinitely.

Rating: 9/10

Pro: Concise, JFC Fuller wrote it, historically sound, great for the introduction of Alexander the Great and his battles – Great jump off point in finding your way to understanding Alexander’s life.

Con: Many revisions of Alexander’s campaigns, and life have far surpassed this work.


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