By the Spear

  • by Ian Worthington
  • Narrated by Phil Holland
  • 11 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Alexander the Great, arguably the most exciting figure from antiquity, waged war as a Homeric hero and lived as one, conquering native peoples and territories on a superhuman scale. From the time he invaded Asia in 334 to his death in 323, he expanded the Macedonian empire from Greece in the west to Asia Minor, the Levant, Egypt, Central Asia and "India" (Pakistan and Kashmir) in the east. Although many other kings and generals forged empires, Alexander produced one that was without parallel, even if it was short-lived. And yet, Alexander could not have achieved what he did without the accomplishments of his father, Philip II (r. 359-336). It was Philip who truly changed the course of Macedonian history, transforming a weak, disunited, and economically backward kingdom into a military powerhouse. A warrior king par excellence, Philip left Alexander with the greatest army in the Greek world, a centralized monarchy, economic prosperity, and a plan to invade Asia. For the first time, By the Spear offers an exhilarating military narrative of the reigns of these two larger-than-life figures in one volume. Ian Worthington gives full breadth to the careers of father and son, showing how Philip was the architect of the Macedonian empire, which reached its zenith under Alexander, only to disintegrate upon his death. By the Spear also explores the impact of Greek culture in the East, as Macedonian armies became avatars of social and cultural change in lands far removed from the traditional sphere of Greek influence. In addition, the book discusses the problems Alexander faced in dealing with a diverse subject population and the strategies he took to what might be called nation building, all of which shed light on contemporary events in culturally dissimilar regions of the world. The result is a gripping and unparalleled account of the role these kings played in creating a vast empire and the enduring legacy they left behind.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Pitting one against the other?

While I love much of the information here, I don't like how it keeps being presented--and I'm not even finished.

One, trying to compare Philip and Alexander, even if the author leaves it up to the reader (or listener) is just silly. Would there be the latter without the former? Uhh...Some of the assertions about the two had me saying "duh!!", though maybe this is meant for someone who hasn't read all the source material available on Alexander.

I bought this primarily for information on Philip, and wasn't disappointed in the least. The military aspect of it was great, but when comparing him and his son, things get a little rocky. Why do it? They were clearly both great men in their own rights, and everyone (despite what the author thinks, apparently) knows it. It's unnecessary, because the other information presented in this book, and all together, is awesome! Philip and Alexander carved Macedon into history together, not one or the other more.

Two, the narration is positively. mind. numbing. Eleven hours of Arrian wasn't this bland. The only thing keeping me engaged was the fact that I wanted to know this stuff. Otherwise? My god. If you need to put your kid to sleep or something, this is the book for you.
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- Maya

Bueller..... Bueller...... Bueller...... Monotone

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

speaker varying tone

What did you like best about this story?

Historical value

What didn’t you like about Phil Holland’s performance?

No tone change, or fluxuation

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?


Any additional comments?

Please provide input for the narrator while reading

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- Jonathan Allen Beard

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-10-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios