1st Edition

The Military Legacy of Alexander the Great Lessons for the Information Age

    370 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    370 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Placing Alexander the Great’s leadership, command skills, and grand strategy within the context of twenty-first century military challenges, and thus showing continuities in leadership and warfare since his time, this volume demonstrates how and why Alexander is relevant to the modern world by emphasizing the need for human leadership in our digital era.

    Not only does this volume explore Alexander’s rich military history, but also it provides a robust exploration of the twenty-first century security environment. Theorists and policy-makers will gain insight into how Alexander’s story informs our thinking about peace, war, and strategy, while practitioners and educators will encounter ways to improve their approaches to leader development and building curricula. Ferguson and Worthington set forth these lessons in a thematic framework that organises Alexander’s reign into distinct parts, together with chapters discussing the lessons and warnings he brings to the modern world. Twenty-fifth National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, provides a thoughtful conclusion to this fascinating volume. Alexander’s timeless campaigns remain as germane to this age as any other and demonstrate the critical importance of dynamic leadership and historical studies in an era increasingly dominated by the culture of technology.

    The Military Legacy of Alexander the Great is expertly written for students and scholars in a variety of disciplines, including Classics, Ancient History, Modern History, Peace Studies, and Military Studies. It is also of great interest to senior defence leaders, military academies, leadership- and management-focused academic programmes, intelligence organizations, and senior service colleges. The volume is also suitable for the general reader interested in warfare, military history, and history more broadly.

    Introduction: Why Alexander the Great? Then and Now; Part I The Environment; 1. Alexander’s Macedonian Background and Influences; 2. A Brave New World?; Part II Military Organization and Structure; 3. The Macedonian Army and Greek Warfare; 4. Organizing, Innovating, and Prioritizing Modernization; Part III Choosing Battles – And Winning Wars?; 5. Alexander’s First Campaigns; 6. Alexander in Persia 1: King of Asia; 7. Alexander in Persia 2: Mission Accomplished?; 8. The Art of Control and the Enduring Fog of War; Part IV Eastern Exposure; 9. Alexander in Central Asia; 10. Alexander in India and His Final Years; 11. West Meets East: Command and Control?; 12. The Trials and Tolls of Expeditionary Warfare; Part V The Human Domain; 13. Alexander’s Generalship; 14. Alexander’s Grand Strategy: Model or Model Failure?; Conclusion by Lt. General H. R. McMaster.


    Michael P. Ferguson (M.S.) is a U.S. Army Officer and Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His decades of military experience include combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan and postings throughout Europe and Africa. He has authored dozens of journal articles and is an opinion contributor at The Hill.

    Ian Worthington (FSA, FRHistS) is Professor of Ancient History at Macquarie University, Australia. He has written numerous books, including The Last Kings of Macedonia and the Triumph of Rome; Athens after Empire: A History from Alexander the Great to the Emperor Hadrian; and By the Spear: Philip II, Alexander the Great, and the Rise and Fall of the Macedonian Empire.

    "A timely, important, and impressive book that provides a tremendous new examination of Alexander the Great. Ferguson and Worthington establish convincingly that civilization's advances have not made war less complex or less taxing on the human condition. As the world evolves from an era of benign globalization to one of renewed great power rivalries, The Military Legacy of Alexander the Great is a compelling exploration of the timeless and often brutal nature of war." -- General David Petraeus (US Army, Ret.), former Commander of the Surge in Iraq, US Central Command, and NATO/US Forces in Afghanistan and co-author (with Andrew Roberts) of Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine.

    "Ferguson and Worthington’s book is a bold effort that integrates a history from antiquity with contemporary insights on leadership. A well designed project of no small amount of intellectual ambition, it is brilliantly executed with nuance and good deal of classical scholarship. Professional students of the art of war will benefit from this historically grounded study that serves as a unique guide to anyone aspiring to master the complexities of strategic leadership." -- Frank Hoffman, Ph.D., U.S. National Defense University

    "A much needed, didactic reexamination of the unique ways in which Alexander the Great overcame daunting challenges of logistics, geography, numbers, culture, and politics that should have guaranteed his failure—and the lessons that ancient history offers... A rare, scholarly and pragmatic guide to the unchanging principles of conducting war by authors who are as versed with wars of the past as they are familiar with conflict in the present." -- Victor Davis Hanson, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Author of A War Like No OtherThe Second World Wars.

    "Michael P. Ferguson and Ian Worthington have presented an excellent account and analysis of Alexander’s campaigns, detailing his strengths and weaknesses across the different levels and components of strategy. Moreover, the book identifies a range of valuable insights for the modern practitioner of strategy. Perhaps most importantly, the book determines that, despite our ever-changing world, war and strategy remain fundamentally human endeavours in which leadership and strategic judgement remain paramount." -- David J. Lonsdale, author of Alexander the Great: Lessons in Strategy.

    "Leadership, strategy, perseverance, individual will...these characteristics are the legacy of Alexander the Great, and they are why we have studied him and his campaigns over the centuries.  His ability to push his army beyond normal limits and reach the fullest possible potential of his soldiers are what is expected of every modern leader today." -- Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, U.S. Army (Retired).