Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire

It’s not much of a review, but I’ll pass on the link to my post on James Romm’s recent release Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire. If you have enjoyed The Landmark Arrian you will definitely enjoy Romm’s book–highly recommended. It expands the first eleven sections of his Epilogue “The Breakup and Decline of Alexander’s Empire” and goes into greater detail. After the break I’ll include the paragraph I specifically included for anyone in the reading group interested in reading this book:

The cast in these events numbers several dozen while the settings for the conflicts and intrigues occur throughout Alexander’s vast empire. Keeping track of all the names and places can be difficult—I was already familiar with many and still got turned around at times. Romm does a good job of occasionally stepping back and summarizing the storyline to date which is helpful in keeping the overall picture in focus given his chronological approach, relaying events in bite-size chunks and moving around the empire as events happen. I also found helpful his way of “reintroducing” characters that not been mentioned in a while, helping me recognize or remember their role so far. Even so, a “cast of characters” broken down between royal family, military leaders and political actors would have been helpful. It’s a minor quibble and something I easily compiled to assist in keeping everyone straight. The bibliography is presented by subject matter, which I think will prove more useful than the standard method for non-scholarly readers like me. Also in the bibliography is a list of translated primary sources available on the internet–wonderful for geeks like me!

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One Response to Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire

  1. James Romm says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful appraisal of the book. Believe it or not, my editor vetoed the idea of including a "Cast of Characters" list. Reading Odyssey members are invited to hear a discussion of the book Wed. Nov. 2 at 7 PM at the NY Public Library, between myself and critic/Classicist Daniel Mendelsohn. You can use this link to reserve free seats:http://www.nypl.org/events/programs/2011/11/02/james-romm-and-daniel-mendelsohn?nref=56909&utm_source=eNewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=NYPLPrograms20111031&utm_campaign=NYPLPrograms

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