He learned his craft under the able tutelage of his father, Philip of Macedon. Philip saw in his son the genius he had for organization and entrusted his logistical planning to his son while he was in his late teens.
Engels book solves Alexander's logistical challenges by using the relationship of time, distance, geography, climate and the nutritional needs of his army. He uses ancient historical sources as well as recent archaeological work to fill in the many blanks that had been plaguing students of Alexander's conquests for years. One of the great facts that Engels points out is that Alexander used very few pack animals since they needed too much food and water. He used men instead to move his army, which made it lighter and faster. The statistical tables, maps and appendices alone make this a most worthwhile book. Had Field Marshall Rommell had access to Engels work he might have not allowed his lack of logistics defeat his strategy, thank God the book wasn't available to him!
"The most important work on Alexander the Great to appear in a long time. Neither scholarship nor semi-fictional biography will ever be the same again. . . .Engels at last uses all the archaeological work done in Asia in the past generation and makes it accessible. . . . Careful analyses of terrain, climate, and supply requirements are throughout combined in a masterly fashion to help account for Alexander's strategic decision in the light of the options open to him...The chief merit of this splendid book is perhaps the way in which it brings an ancient army to life, as it really was and moved: the hours it took for simple operations of washing and cooking and feeding animals; the train of noncombatants moving with the army. . . . this is a book that will set the reader thinking. There are not many books on Alexander the Great that do."--New York Review of Books