Alexander the Great by Robin Lane Fox Penguin $144 Re-released to coincide with the movie, this dense biography was director Oliver Stone's main source on Alexander. Oxford don Lane Fox won a raft of awards when it was first published in 1973. Combining historical scholarship and psychological insight, he brings this colossal figure vividly to life. 'Sex and sleep alone make me conscious that I am mortal,' Alexander is said to have declared. A tough fighter, shrewd politician and charismatic leader, he built an empire stretching over about five million square miles, from Greece to India. He founded 18 new cities and stamped the face of Greek culture on the ancient east. He was also a dedicated patron of music and drama, a keen hunter and a noted horseman - his horse Bucephalas has passed into legend with him. Yet he was only 32 when he died in 333BC.