Jacob Abbott’s Alexander the Great was first printed in 1849 as a biography targeting young adults. It details Alexander’s youth to his death, highly focusing on the deterioration of his character.
Although it targets young adults, today’s audience would probably find it an ambitious study. The sentences and paragraphs are complex. Often a paragraph will be composed of only one sentence or a page of only one or two paragraphs. This particular edition of Alexander the Great provides no credentials for Abbott, no bibliography, and Abbott includes very few in-text citations.
Abbott’s version of Alexander’s life is entertaining and loaded with information. Abbott takes time throughout the book to depict the scenery around Alexander as he travels. Sometimes he will also pause to tell an anecdote related to an event, whether relating the Iliad in a nutshell or summarizing Josephus’s account of Alexander visiting Jerusalem.
For those interested in reading a biography of Alexander the Great, this one follows his life in some detail and provides some of Abbott’s own subtle commentary. The book would be more functional, however, if it had a bibliography. – Stephanie Warner, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Alexander the Great is part of Makers of History, a 19th century biography series by two brothers—Jacob and John S.C. Abbott. Reprinted by Canon Press, these biographies have been edited and brought up-to-date for readers twelve and up. Not only are these editions given vintage style paperback covers, but they also include introductions that explain where these men and women fit into the timeline of history.