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Book Review: Alexander, the Boy Soldier Who Conquered the World


Reading Level

Ages 9-12

Also on This Subject

• The Life and Success of Alexander the Great
• The Legacy of Alexander the Great

Also in This Series

Eleanor of Aquitaine
Elizabeth
Galileo
Hatshepsut
Leonardo
Marco Polo
Michelangelo
Saladin

He is one of the most famous names in all of history. He is famous enough to go by just his first name and to have the word Great follow it. He is Alexander, a remarkable figure in history if ever there was one.

This book is a good introduction to the life and legacy of Alexander, pointing out many of the relevant details and illustrating the back story with a helpful timeline and accompanying pictures and graphics. It's not just Alexander's deeds that are discussed herein but the world of the ancients, both Greece and Persia. The reader really gets a sense of what life must have been like in both cultures "way back then."

What the reader also gets a sense of is Alexander's drive to succeed. His ambition is on bold display, as is that of both his mother and father. It is easy to see how such a strong-willed youth came to be having been born of two such individuals.

The words are solid enough and tell the story well enough, but it is the illustrations that really sell this book. As always, National Geographic has an entire world of illustrations to call on; the ones in this book are some of the most famous and descriptive ever done.

As stated before, this book makes a good introduction to the story of Alexander and, hopefully, encourages the reader to discover more about the book's subject. The one thing lacking from this book is more than the briefest details about Alexander's great victories and how his army fought and traveled. The reader is treated to glimpses of Alexander's brilliance, but the major battles that he wins (and they are some of the most famous in all of military history) are stated as matter-of-factly as are other "facts" from Alexander's life. Still, this can serve also as an incentive to discover just how brilliant a commander Alexander really was.

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