Prevas, John

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PERSONAL: Male. Education: Degrees in history, political science, forensics, and psychology.

ADDRESSES: Home—FL. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Da Capo Press, 11 Cambridge Ctr, Cambridge, MA 02142.

CAREER: Writer, adventurer, and educator. Towson University, Towson, MD, former senior lecturer in Greek; Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL, currently professor of Latin and ancient history.


Hannibal Crosses the Alps: The Enigma Re-examined, Sarpedon Pub (Rockville Center, NY), 1998.

Xenophon's March: Into the Lair of the Persian Lion, Da Capo Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.

Envy of the Gods: Alexander the Great's Ill-fated Journey across Asia, Da Capo Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Author, adventurer, and educator John Prevas is a professor of Latin and ancient history. A teacher of the classics for more than fifteen years, Prevas takes a hands-on approach to his research. While preparing his books, he has personally retraced the arduous routes critical to the stories of Hannibal, Xenophon, and Alexander the Great. His travels have taken him from Iranian ruins to deep valleys in Pakistan, deserts in Uzbekistan, and perilous mountains in Afghanistan.

In Hannibal Crosses the Alps: The Enigma Reexamined Prevas relates the epic story of Hannibal's trek across the Alps and invasion of Italy during the Second Punic War. He "retells the saga in a compact, superbly written volume with some provocative conclusions," in particular concerning the actual route Hannibal took on his march, noted Booklist contributor Jay Freeman. Prevas offers insights and observations based on his own physical retracing of Hannibal's steps, as well as his exploration of alternate routes that the legendary invader might have used to break through the Alps. He provides background information on the political climate that led to Hannibal's decision to invade Italy, and he also describes the often-neglected military and diplomatic conflicts with the fierce Celtic tribes Hannibal met along the way. Freeman declared the book an "excellent work."

Xenophon's March: Into the Lair of the Persian Lion is a retelling of Xenophon's Anabasis, an account of the heady march across Persia and subsequent retreat in defeat of thousands of Greek mercenaries who set out in support of Cyrus the Younger. Xenophon was not a professional soldier; he was a philosopher. When called upon to lead during the retreat, however, his nascent abilities allowed more than six thousand of the defeated Greeks to return home safely. "They had achieved one of the great escapes in military history," noted Bryan Woolley in the Dallas Morning News. Xenophon's work, written while serving as a commander during the retreat, is considered one of the more important primary accounts of military action in all of military history. In his book, Prevas provides "an interesting, readable, and reliable interpretation of Anabasis with the added twist of some modern analysis of the terrain Xenophon's army traversed," commented J. Boone Bartholomees in Parameters. Again, Prevas retraced Xenophon's physical route, allowing him to provide additional insight that only firsthand experience could provide. "Prevas has a lucid style that gives vivid insight into warfare in the period around 390 B.C.E.," Bartholomees further commented, adding that Xenophon's story is "undeniably a great tale that is still of interest to the modern soldier."

More recently, Prevas completed Envy of the Gods: Alexander the Great's Ill-fated Journey across Asia, which describes Alexander's campaign to conquer all of Asia. Again, the author recalls this feat from the perspective of an explorer who retraced the route. Affected by megalomania and exhibiting a desire for conquest beyond even his already tremendous accomplishments, Alexander demonstrated a pathological compulsion to expand his already-vast empire, noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer. He "thought of himself as divine and expected his constituents and armies to worship him as well as obey his commands, however unreasonable," the critic stated. He was determined to conquer Persia, particularly the city of Persepolis, which he thought would avenge his father's death. As he traversed Asia during his seven-year march, Alexander "sank deeper into paranoia and delusion so that by the time he died, his followers may have breathed a sigh of relief," commented Robert J. Andrews in Library Journal. Some scholars, including Prevas, even speculate that Alexander was poisoned by a member of his inner circle. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called Envy of the Gods "one of the best" books on Alexander, and "a welcome addition to the literature surrounding the renowned conqueror."



America's Intelligence Wire, November, 2004, Oliver North, Alan Colmes, and Alisyn Camerota, interview with Prevas.

Booklist, June 1, 1998, Jay Freeman, review of Hannibal Crosses the Alps: The Enigma Re-examined, p. 1715; November 15, 2004, George Cohen, review of Envy of the Gods: Alexander the Great's Ill-fated Journey across Asia, p. 538.

Dallas Morning News, January 9, 2003, Bryan Woolley, review of Xenophon's March: Into the Lair of the Persian Lion.

History: Review of New Books, summer, 2002, Jonathan Roth, review of Xenophon's March, p. 176.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2004, review of Envy of the Gods, p. 1083.

Library Journal, January 1, 2005, Robert J. Andrews, review of Envy of the Gods, p. 130.

Parameters, spring, 2003, J. Boone Bartholomees, review of Xenophon's March, p. 152.

Publishers Weekly, December 6, 2004, review of Envy of the Gods, p. 54.