Ghost on the Throne

Ghost on the Throne

The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire

Book - 2011
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Chronicles the dramatic collapse of Alexander the Great's empire, discussing the unsuccessful reigns of his half-brother and posthumously born son, the infighting among his generals, and the ensuing war that set the stage for modern conflicts.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307271648
Branch Call Number: 938.08 R665g 2011
Characteristics: xxii, 341 p. : ill., map ; 25 cm


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Mar 11, 2016

The tumultuous week after Alexander's death saw a temporary solution headed by Perdiccas that began to disintegrate almost immediately. Romm’s book goes into detail of the many theaters of plotting and conflict that followed Alexander’s death.

The elements in the breakup can be extremely complex but Romm does a good job presenting the major and minor ones, the combination of which, or sometimes the absence of which, lend or deny power to the characters in the history.

The ghost of Alexander, figuratively and at times literally, looms over the events that happen after his death. The vacuum in leadership, that no one claimant was able to completely fill, reinforces just how powerful a leader and personality Alexander proved to be. Alexander bequeathed fighting forces that had overrun much of the known world but they would also prove to be extremely deadly when fighting each other. The empire without borders and without nationality that Alexander dreamed of was shredded by his family and closest companions. I highly recommend Romm’s book for those looking to understand the turbulent and bloody transition of Alexander’s short-lived empire to “a multipolar world marked by rivalry, shifting alliances, and long-running small-scale conflicts."

Norman C. Smith
May 18, 2013

This is an excellent history of the years following the death of Alexander the Great, during which time his empire decomposed rapidly as various factions fought for control of bits and pieces. At times, I was reminded of the books and television series, "Game of Thrones" (without any dragons). However, this is better, being historical rather than fantastical. Romm appears to be a serious historian, who has based his work on the original, 2000-year-old sources, but he has also written with a lively style that makes this history very accessible and worth reading.


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