Form and Content
Stephen Krensky’s brief Conqueror and Hero: The Search for Alexander covers the life and achievements of Alexander the Great. In sixty-seven pages and three chapters, as well as a short foreword and epilogue, Krensky can mention only the essential facts about Alexander’s career.
In the first chapter, Krensky characterizes the Greek world, and Macedonia in particular, in the fourth century b.c. He then sketches the accomplishments of Philip II, Alexander’s father, including his political marriage to Olympias of Epirus. After describing Alexander’s birth, the author recounts the familiar stories of taming the great horse, Bucephalus, and Alexander’s experiences with his tutor, Aristotle. Then Alexander commands a wing at the Battle of Chaeronea, which destroys Greek resistance to Macedonia. Krensky describes the estrangement between Philip and Olympias and Philip’s assassination.
The succession of Alexander and his crushing of threats from various enemies begin chapter 2. Alexander invades the Persian Empire, fights at Granicus, visits Troy and Gordium, and defeats Darius III at Issus (which, oddly, is not named). Then, in rapid succession, Alexander besieges Tyre and Gaza and seizes Egypt, where he founds Alexandria. After the Battle of Gaugamela, where Darius’ power is ended, Alexander proceeds to Babylon and Persepolis. In the latter, the palace of Darius catches on fire, apparently by...
(The entire section is 429 words.)