I found the story of Hannibal to be fascinating. For a book which isn't short it held my interest to the end.
This book was very different from what I expected. It is a great account of the life of Hannibal and gives a real insight into the history of Carthage. Also shows how a civilisation can decline over a very short period.
I would highly recommend the book. The narrator is great and very easy to listen to, even if at times the story gets very complicated.
I would though recommend a good map of the world in that time as you would then get a much better idea of where the tale takes place.
All in all a great book.
Ostensibly a biography of the great Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca, the fact is that it's hard to write authoritatively about what the man himself was like. Most of the records were written by his enemies, the Romans, who characterized him as cruel, mad, and treacherous. However, by looking at his actual actions, a different picture emerges, of someone who was a pretty decent man for his time, considering he spent the latter half of his life at war with an enemy that wanted to destroy his nation (and ultimately did). So most of the book talks about the history of the 2nd Punic war, which was the great contest between Rome and Carthage for domination of the Western Mediterranean.
Hannibal was a strategic genius who led his army in an extended campaign against the Roman Republic, before its ultimate ascendancy. For nearly twenty years he trounced the Romans in Italy, before finally being defeated on his home ground. His archrival, Scipio Africanus, was another man of great power and genius, and he defeated Hannibal after studying him for years.
One thing that emerges from this book is how much individual personalities mattered, both in war and in politics. Different generals than Hannibal and Scipio Africanus would almost certainly have meant different outcomes. Likewise, even after losing the war, Hannibal was powerful and influential in Carthage and instrumental in getting the city to repay its reparations to Rome. Likewise, forceful personalities in Rome (like Cato, who absolutely hated Carthage) were responsible for history taking the course it did. This book is a pretty strong argument for the theory that great men shape history. (I should probably say "great persons" or "great personalities," but frankly, women didn't have much to say in either Carthage or Rome.)
There are some modern parallels if you consider the reasons why Rome and Carthage went to war, and look at the political maneuvers of the Romans, the way Hannibal had to drag the super-wealthy Carthaginians into line to get the city's debts paid, and then how he was ultimately betrayed, first by his own people and then repeatedly by other rulers whom he assisted in resisting Rome.
There is a certain tragic inevitability in Carthage's ultimate fall, and Hannibal and Scipio Africanus both came to more ignominious ends than these great men deserved.
If you like histories of Roman antiquity with a fair amount of military information (but not too much about the nitty-gritty details about tactics and maneuvers), this is a good book. It's a bit dry at times; Lamb sticks to the source material and anything that might make it more interesting -- conjectures, ahistorical personalizing of the individuals, guesses about what might have happened -- he labels as such and doesn't go too far down that path. Hannibal himself remains more an icon than a man; if you want to hear his voice and see his personality, you'll have to resort to historical fiction.
I really liked the narration of this audiobook. Charlton Griffin has a rich, deep voice and reads the history, and Hannibal's words, with appropriate gravity. The occasional background noise of marching boots actually added to the mood, rather than being distracting as most sound effects are.
Addicted to Audible since 2009
Overall, I thought this was a very interesting listen and I certainly liked both the book and narration.
This book was an extremely lucid retelling of Hannibal and his campaign. It kept my attention, the battles were well described, and Hannibal became somewhat more of a person in spite of the limited direct information available about him.
This is a well researched biography that the author masterfully crafts into a well told story. Not just of the man who was Hannibal but of the Roman and Punic Character. I HIGHLY recommend this to fans of military history or of Roman history.
An obvious fool
I had no idea of what was going on in 200 A.D. in the area of north Africa and southern Europe until I listened to this superb book. Hannibals exploits are absolutely amazing. I now have a much greater appreciation of how intelligent, creative, and brave people were over 2200 years ago.
Both the author and the narrator are suberb, to the point that I immediately listened to Alexander of Macedon, which they also did, after I completed this audio book. I strongly suggest that if you do listen to either of these titles that you do a web search to find some more information, especially maps, to provide a better understanding of the travels and adventures of Hannibal and Alexander.
This is the 1st Audible book I have listened and I wasn't disappointed; neither will you. The narrator is excellent, changing his tone and using inflections to help you distinguish between characters. He keeps it clear & interesting.
I know that Alexander the Great is viewed as the greatest conqueror and military mind in history, and everyone else is compared to him, but after hearing this book I think that Hannibal Barker (did I spell his name right?) may have been short changed a bit. The decisions made by Hannibal, his superior ability to lead people and his subsequent victories throughout Spain and Italy were amazing. His battles against his rivals, Maximus and Scipio, are fascinating. How their decisions changed the course of things to come (both for themselves, their nations and history). This book has made me want to look further into other historical figures (something I was lacking in doing before).
I highly recommend this book. If you are into history or learning about important historical figures I don't think you'll be disappointed with this book. The only criticism I have is that the book never gives you any reference as to where these events took place in modern today. I would suggest looking through the net and familiarize your self with the Mediterranean, Italy, Spain and Northern Africa during the 200 - 300 BC era. This will help you enormously with your visualization of where these battles and events took place.
Again, Highly Recommended!!
Harold Lamb's account of Hannibal Barca's life is remarkably gripping. He balances an appropriate mix of anecdotes, dry historical analysis, and extrapolation of his character. The story seems to come alive as a result - not the least due to the compelling narrator - and it was quite an enjoyable audiobook.
Unfortunately, Lamb's analysis is often colored by somewhat archaic views; the various peoples of Hannibal's time are characterized by sweeping generalizations which don't generally fit in more modern histories. The author's opinions are not hard to discern.
All in all, a very worthwhile book, and one that I recommend highly.
This was a superb historical account of Hannibal and the second Punic War. It was my first book about Hannibal, so I don't know how it differs from others, but was an exciting read. It didn't include much personal information about Hannibal because it simply is not available, according to the author.