From Alexander to Cleopatra: The Hellenistic World - Michael Grant The era between Alexander the Great's death and the rise of the Roman Empire has always intrigued me. Perhaps it is that no history book I've ever read had much to say about the Hellenistic Empires. Or maybe it is because I envisioned fascinating stories of political intrigue and fierce battles. Either way, I have always wanted to know more about Alexander's successor states. So when I stumbled upon this book, I got very excited, especially since it was written by Michael Grant.

Mr. Grant has always been one of my favorite historical writers; someone who can be informative yet also manage to be very readable, which as we all know can be a difficult task to accomplish with history. And this book was no different than Grant's others in that regard. It gives a broad overview of the major successor states to Alexander's empire, conveying one a general idea of which state was where and how they arose. We are also given a general narrative of the different wars which took place; which state was battling which at any given time; and how the victories by one or the other impacted the Near East and the Mediterranean world as a whole. Grant even spends a far amount of time on cultural information including philosophy, religion, science, and other art form that saw advancement during this time frame. So for a general overview of the time period and what was transpiring, I cannot complain at all. However, there was something missing here.

The element which was missing here - in my opinion - was the storytelling which Grant usually brings to his historical works. The Hellenistic states era was ripe with wars, conspiracies, assassinations, and everything else which makes a great story, but Grant did not write it as such. Instead, he chose to make it a straight forward history book, which I did not feel did all this wonderful material justice. Do not misunderstand me, this is still a very informative and readable treaty on this historical time period, but it is not as good as Grant could have made it.