Human history is full of men who were successful but flawed. Among them were Alexander the Great, Spartacus, George Patton, T E Lawrence and L Ron Hubbard. All of them sparked controversy, and their biographies are full of negatives along with the positives.
Alexander the Great was the King of Macedon who conquered much of the known world and died at the age of 33. He extended his empire from his home country as far east as what is now Pakistan. As he marched eastward, he renamed a lot of places after himself like Alexandria, Egypt. He clearly had an outsized ego. He also had 3 sons. He left one of them in charge of his home country while he was away conquering the world even though that son was only 16 years old. His second son was illegitimate and his 3rd was unborn when Alexander died. While drunk, he killed a close friend named Cleitus who had accused Alexander of adopting Persian dress and customs. Alexander later regretted this murder. That is supposedly a bust of him up above. Alexander died in Babylon of either malaria or typhoid fever. Spartacus, who once fought for Rome as a legionnaire, went to gladiator school as a slave. He deeply angered Romans when he revolted against them and killed many Roman soldiers. Spartacus was born in Thrace about 100 BCE and died 31 years later, but no one knows if these are accurate dates. He was considered an inspired revolutionary, but so was Fidel Castro.
George Patton was a complex, highly successful military man known for carrying pistols at all times and being hot-headed. He was a great commander with several nicknames including The Old Man, Bandito, Georgie, and most commonly Old Blood and Guts. He was said to be brash and mercurial but also highly disciplined and tough. He publicly criticized post World-War II denazification and shot his mouth off at the press to the point that he was relieved of command. He physically struck hospitalized soldiers and berated some as cowards. He was brilliant but flawed.
Thomas Edward Lawrence attacked a troop train, thereby killing 70 Turkish soldiers. Also known as Lawrence of Arabia, he blew up 79 railroad bridges. Lawrence was often said to be a man of divided loyalties, and those who write about him now are also divided. He was a British Intelligence Officer who fought alongside Arabs during World War I. Some say that he was crucial to the Allies victory over the Ottomans in that war, but this once stable empire collapsed and led to today’s Middle East conflicts. Lawrence died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 46 while living under an assumed name trying to escape his own celebrity. His true legacy is much debated.
L. Ron Hubbard, creator of Scientology, was a science fiction writer who founded a new and controversial religion. He hid so that he might continue research into Scientology and dropped from sight to avoid subpoenas and tax agents who were trying to prove that he was skimming church funds. Many call Scientology a cult. Hubbard was super sensitive to criticism and made life miserable for those who left his church. He made his own truth claiming he was possessor of more than 20 Navy medals when in reality he had 4. He believed completely in his psychic powers and created something called the E-Meter that supposedly showed an individual’s enlightenment level. Business Insider called his rise to power a “chilling story”.