Adrian Goldsworthy has received wide acclaim for his exceptional writing on the Roman Empire - including high praise from the acclaimed military historian and author John Keegan - and here he offers a new perspective on the empire by focusing on its greatest generals, including Scipio Africanus, Marius, Pompey, Caesar, and Titus. Each chapter paints a fascinating portrait of a single general, offering in-depth insight into his leadership skills and victories as well as each one's pioneering strategies, many of which are still used today. In the process this absorbing, accessible history tells the complete story of Roman warfare, from the bitter struggle with Carthage in the third century BC to the last desperate attempt to win back the Western Empire in the sixth century AD.
©2003 Adrian Goldsworthy; preface copyright 2016 by Adrian Goldsworthy (P)2016 Tantor
I found this to be very well narrated, informative and very entertaining. Goldsworthy builds a picture of how generalship, command, the army itself, and the relationships between commanders, subordinates, soldiers and ultimate civil authorities evolved from the republic through the imperial period. Inevitably, because of the paucity of sources there are large gaps but he paints as fair and balanced picture of each commander as is possible. This is definitely a recommended book if you are interested in learning more about the essential elements of the Roman philosophy of command.
I would recommend it to a friend with a serious interest in Roman History.
It is excellent. He does a great job pronouncing Latin names correctly.
Not applicable to a book of this kind.
I would reccomend this book only if a friend had an interest in the subject matter. This book is dense, dry, and to the point. However, like all of Goldsworthy's work, it is very intensive and gripping.
Julius Ceasar. The histories of the Gallic Wars and the Civil War are gripping.
Not his best, but still great. Its easy to lose track of the narrative due to the pacing and lack of visual aid. There are comprehensive details on formations, tactics, and the charisma of Roman Generals. If you are looking for details on the intrigue and politics following each campaign and general, this book will leave you dissatisfied. Comprehensive and detailed focus on Generalship, Armies, and Battles, with little else.
I'm perplexed at the choice of "Julian the apostate" as one of the primary generals in the book. The author explains his choice by wanting to explain the great difference in the state of the empire and the army at the time. He aptly covers Julian's career: From his able execution of his duties in Gaul, to his disastrous Persian campaign. While "Constantine the Great" is given but a few lines. This is baffling since Constantine achieved what Alexander the Great's Generals never could: that is, completely reuniting a vastly divided empire and making it into a semblance of it's former greatness. Edward Gibbon credits Constantine's choice of the new capital to providing the great longevity of the Eastern part of the empire. Perhaps personal ideology played a part in the author's omission. But to omit a highly skilled general who defeated several independent "Ceasars" to reunite a divided Roman empire seems to be without excuse. Constantine certainly warrants mention in a thorough history of Roman Generals.
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