While reading this novel, I was taken aback at how little I knew about Aristotle's early life. Annabel Lyon fills in this gap by fleshing out the few facts we have, showing his childhood and education in flashbacks, including his first meeting with Phillip (later to become king of Macedon). This past friendship explains why Phillip sends for Aristotle - at the time a struggling philosopher eager to return to Athens and Plato's Academy - to tutor Phillip's son Alexander. For the first time, I really got a sense of Aristotle as a human being and not just an immense intellect driven by ambitions, resentments, and sometimes contradictory impulses.
Lyon gives The Golden Mean
a sense of immediacy by using contemporary style and language. Except for certain ceremonial occasions, the characters speak in informal, present-day English. In fact, the language can get...
Beyond the Book
Alexander III of Macedon (356323 BC), popularly known as Alexander the Great, was one of history's most successful military commanders. He is reputed to have never lost a battle, and his tactics are still studied in military academies. He successfully challenged the Persian Empire, the largest, most powerful kingdom of the time, and conquered its vast territory after a series of battles and the death of the emperor, Darius III. By the time he died at the age of 32, Alexander had seized an immense amount of land stretching from Greece and the Balkans to parts of India and Afghanistan, as well as Egypt (map).
Alexander's most enduring legacy, however, lies in spreading Greek culture and civilization to the places he conquered. While his...