Alexander at the End of the World: The Forgotten Final Years of Alexander the Great (Hardcover)

Alexander at the End of the World: The Forgotten Final Years of Alexander the Great By Rachel Kousser Cover Image

Alexander at the End of the World: The Forgotten Final Years of Alexander the Great (Hardcover)

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“A heart-pounding, mind-bending adventure.” —Ilyon Woo

A riveting biography of Alexander the Great’s final years, when the leader’s insatiable desire to conquer the world set him off on an exhilarating, harrowing journey that would define his legacy.  

By 330 B.C.E., Alexander the Great had reached the pinnacle of success. Or so it seemed. He had defeated the Persian ruler Darius III and seized the capital city of Persepolis. His exhausted and traumatized soldiers were ready to return home to Macedonia. Yet Alexander had other plans. He was determined to continue heading east to Afghanistan in search of his ultimate goal: to reach the end of the world. 

Alexander’s unrelenting desire to press on resulted in a perilous seven-year journey through the unknown eastern borderlands of the Persian empire that would test the great conqueror’s physical and mental limits. He faced challenges from the natural world, moving through deadly monsoons and extreme temperatures; from a rotating cast of well-matched adversaries, who conspired against him at every turn; and even from his own men, who questioned his motives and distrusted the very beliefs on which Alexander built his empire. This incredible sweep of time, culminating with his death in 323 BC at the age of 32, would come to determine Alexander’s legacy and shape the empire he left behind. 

In Alexander at the End of the World, renowned classicist and art history professor Rachel Kousser vividly brings to life Alexander’s labyrinthine, treacherous final years, weaving together a brilliant series of epic battles, stunning landscapes, and nearly insurmountable obstacles. Meticulously researched and grippingly written, Kousser’s narrative is an unforgettable tale of daring and adventure, an inspiring portrait of grit and ambition, and a powerful meditation on the ability to learn from failure. 

Rachel Kousser is the chair of the Classics department at the Graduate Center, City University of New York and a professor of ancient art and archaeology at Brooklyn College. Her most recent work, The Afterlives of Greek Sculpture: Interaction, Transformation, Destruction received an Archaeological Institute of America Publication Subvention Award and was shortlisted for the Runciman Book Award for a book on Greek history or culture. Professor Kousser is also the author of Hellenistic and Roman Ideal Sculpture: The Allure of the Classical. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Getty Research Institute, and the Center for the Advanced Study of the Visual Arts. 

Product Details ISBN: 9780062869685
ISBN-10: 006286968X
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: July 16th, 2024
Pages: 416
Language: English

“Get ready for a heart-pounding, mind-bending adventure in Rachel Kousser’s stunning achievement of a book. Sensitively rendered, beautifully narrated, and packed with revelatory insights from a world-class Classics scholar, Alexander at the End of the World mirrors the storied greatness of its hero: bold, adventurous, seemingly unstoppable, and fascinatingly complex. ... all unfolding against a panoramic view of a vast, ancient world that is awesome in its diversity. Here is a modern epic, set in distant times but astonishingly of-the-moment. Journey to the end of Alexander’s world to better grasp ours.  — Ilyon Woo, New York Times bestselling author of Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom

“In Rachel Kousser's vivid tale of the last decade of Alexander the Great's life, he comes off the page in all his complexity – his ferocious ambition, lust for conquest, charisma -- and his ruthless, often gratuitous violence. Kousser's true achievement, however, is capturing Alexander's genius at welding it all together – fractious Macedonians, Greeks, Persians, and Egyptians -- into the world's greatest empire in classical times.” — William Carlson, New York Times bestselling author of Jungle of Stone: The Extraordinary Journey of John L. Stephens and Frederick Catherwood, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya

“A thought-provoking portrait of audacious ambition, triumph, and tragedy in the short, glorious life of Alexander the Great, Rachel Kousser’s compelling account of the tumultuous last years of the young, and wildly successful world conqueror is at once exhilarating and melancholy.” —  Adrienne Mayor, author of National Book Award Finalist The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy

“A wonderful and insightful account about one of the most famous figures in all history—told with real style and panache. Kousser’s Alexander almost springs to life off the page.” — Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

“Writing with the eye of an archeologist, the mind of a tactician, and the pen of a novelist, Kousser gives us a very human Alexander, struggling towards greatness. Her fascinating, truly empire-wide portrait reveals how much of our uneasily interconnected world sprang from Alexander’s ambitions—and how little of his dream of cross-cultural harmony we have yet to achieve.” — Erin Thompson, author of Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America’s Public Monuments

“Without glossing over the horrific violence Alexander wreaked, Kousser delves into his bold attempt to meld Macedonians, Greeks, Persians, and other groups into a transcultural governing elite that would help hold his conquests together. An expert scholar and dramatic story-teller, she has woven ancient literary and archaeological sources into an exciting narrative that invites us into Alexander’s world and shows the significance of understanding that world today.” — Joy Connolly, President, American Council of Learned Societies