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I would call this book a sort of "missing link." Not in the regard of new information or discovery but in the sense that most people are taught history in a sort of huge bulleted list. The way I was taught history, it was like reading a paper that has no transition sentences and therefore the relevance of each event was not adequately portrayed. In other words, I knew something about Alexandria, something about Alexander the great's importance to the Roman empire, and something about the library and the lighthouse. Also, with a background in science, the stories of archimedes and the like were briefly told to me. However this book is a good explanation of the actual story and importance of the history of this pivotal city. I especially enjoyed learning its role in the rise and characterization of christianity.
40 of 40 people found this review helpful
I'd read a little bit about Alexandria (mostly in Stacy Schiff's book on Cleopatra), but I never dreamed its history was so intimately connected with such vast stretches of the intellectual, political, and religious history of the ancient world. Pollard and Reid spin a fascinating yarn that unites Alexander the Great, the Septuagint, maps of the world, clocks and odometers, Cleopatra, the steam engine, animatronics, and the brutal killing of Hypatia in a single overarching narrative. And when I mention those items of particular interest (to me), I'm only scratching the surface. A brilliant history with an unusual approach, and (as usual) impeccable narration from Simon Vance.
24 of 24 people found this review helpful