From penetrating insights into the mind of history's greatest general to a grunt's-eye view of the gruesome realities of war in the Classical Age, this unique and riveting true account sets a new standard of excellence and detail to which all authors of ancient military history will now aspire.
©2002 Stephen Dando-Collins; (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Written in a readable, popular style, this book is a must for military buffs and anyone interested in Roman history at a critical point in European civilization." (T.R. Fehrenbach, author of Lone Star)
This isn't just the story of the 10th Legion. It's also the story of Julius Caesar, Pompey, Marc Antony, Rome's civil wars, and so much more. It's told in an interesting manner, never dry or boring despite its richness of proper sourcing and crediting. I wish more history was told so entertainingly and accurately.
There's not anything new here, but Dando-Collins brings together all the classic authors (Suetonius, Tacitus, Julius Caesar himself, etc.) and re-images the characters and setting based on this amalgamation of sources. We get an excellent storyteller's survey of the rise of Julius Caesar and the creation of the 10th Legion ("Caesar's Legion" of the title) in Spain. The book loses steam a bit after the 10th drops from Caesar's favor after Pharsala (the battle that won the Roman Civil War for Caesar), yet remains interesting enough through the death of Pompey in Egypt. Then there's a dry stretch for a couple hundred years until we get to the Romans in 2nd century Israel, and a rousing finale with the fall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple by the Legions, and the scattering of the Jews. It's all great stuff, and will provide a excellent backgrounder for those who want to go on and read or listen to the classic era historians.
Learning about how the Legions were actually constituted and how they functioned. Just fascinating.
The Teaching Company has several series on Ancient History and most of them are excellent descriptions of daily lives of soldiers during this same period. These series compare favorably with Caesar's Legion. These materials complement one another nicely.
I was struck by how severe Caesar could be when disciplining his troops: Literally killing one in ten of the ranks???? Now that is severe discipline.
Not possible. Too long. Too much to absorb between listening sessions.
An excellent selection.
Text Book Worm
This book was well written, well researched, and well narrated but it runs the risk of fictionalizing history for some purists. The author does a masterful job of placing evidence from various primary sources into a well-designed chronological story but it is hard to tell when he is quoting and when he is imagining how history might have happened. For the scholar, be wary of any dialogue that seem to come too easy but it is still very much worthwhile. For the casual historian, this is the way to read Caesar!
this is in the top quintile. i loved the specifics on how a legion was created, the development of legion techniques. julius caesar as a character was fascinating and the history i learned was rewarding.
got it after listening to the history of rome podcast, which i cannot recommend highly enough
a great true story, made the lives of the normal soldier accessible
very easy to understand and follow, right pace for an audiobook and no jarring mispronunciations (to my ear)
just sad at the carnage
just recommend the history of rome podcast, listen to more roman history books!
loved the book on hannibal and cannae
Fantasy and Romance Author
Far from being a dry account of dates and battles, CAESAR'S LEGION brings this ancient Roman military force to vivid life by chronicling the lives and adventures individual commanders, centurions, and ordinary soldiers.
Filled with fascinating details about how soldiers were recruited and trained, and how they lived while on the march, the book focuses on three major periods in the legion's history: the conquest of Gaul and Britain under the leadership of Julius Caesar; the legion's role in the civil wars that ended the Roman Republic and ushered in the reign of the emperors; and the Jewish rebellion and siege of Jerusalem under Emperor Vespasian and his son Titus.
All three of these campaigns, as narrated by Dando-Collins, are rife with intrigue, political maneuvering, betrayal, battles, and heroism. It made for a very interesting listening experience, and I'm looking forward to listening to another book in this series.
Well written, well researched. However, Dando-Collins comes to quite a few conclusions after reading the ancient sources that most ancient scholars would dismiss as bad history. A good novel, but not a good history.
Yes, of course. I liked it very much. And it was beautifully narrated.
It was very well researched and documented. Narration was excellent. I learnt a lot about the importance of the legions in the Roman Empire.
Julius Caesar, of course. Thrilling voice and characteristic.
No reaction, I just loved it.
The detail and attempted accuracy of what was said and the simplification of the book into "plebeian" terms.
Gaius Crastinus, a Centurion in the 10th; really, he was just the man.
He narrated the book without irritating me with his voice.
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