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An epic history of a doomed civilization and a lost empire. The devastating struggle to the death between the Carthaginians and the Romans was one of the defining dramas of the ancient world. In an epic series of land and sea battles, both sides came close to victory before the Carthaginians finally succumbed and their capital city, history, and culture were almost utterly erased.
Drawing on a wealth of new archaeological research, Richard Miles vividly brings to life this lost empire-from its origins among the Phoenician settlements of Lebanon to its apotheosis as the greatest seapower in the Mediterranean. And at the heart of the history of Carthage lies the extraordinary figure of Hannibal-the scourge of Rome and one of the greatest military leaders, but a man who also unwittingly led his people to catastrophe. The first full-scale history of Carthage in decades, Carthage Must Be Destroyed reintroduces modern listeners to the larger-than-life historical players and the ancient glory of this almost forgotten civilization.
This is an awesome history of Carthage, with a fresh look at how it existed in its own times and setting, as opposed to the way it appeared to Greek and Roman historians. Obviously, we have no opportunity to do primary research on Carthaginian mores and motives, but the author does an outstanding job of dissecting much of the conventional wisdom about Carthage, its people, and the events surrounding its rise and fall.
Some reviews have addressed a long dry patch somewhat early in the work, and I did in fact wind up forwarding past a few chapters. Yet this is what makes the book definitive. I was blown away by the level of detail assessing sources such as works of art, artifacts, and secondhand histories through the economic drivers, likely cultural influences, and geographic facts of life lend the author's own analysis a great weight. Just the same, this section is a bit dry if you are not already conversant with much of the artifact-based history. Having heard a good sampling of the evidence, I skipped much of it, decided to take him at his word and got back to the juicy mainstream of the book.
This is a powerful and convincing history well told by the writer and well-read by the narrator. A top-notch effort and well worth not only your money, but your time and attention.
If you were interested enough to check out this title, then this IS a book you want.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
I have read a fair amount of ancient history, but never knew much about Carthage in particular. This book gives a compelling, easy to understand and enjoyable to hear overview of the ancient city's entire history. There are just a few dry as dust sections where archaeological details get a little overwhelming, but the vast majority of the book moves along well. Grover Gardner, as always, does a great job with the narration.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
This is a thought provoking overview of the political, military, religious and social history of the rise and fall of an early "world" power. The book covers an approximately 800 year period from the founding of the city of Carthage to its complete destruction by Rome. The book is well researched but does not overwhelm the lay reader with source material. Events are presented both from the perspective of Carthage and from other, primarily Greek and Roman sources. There are many parallels between events in this time period and our own. Carthage was much more than Hannibal and the elephants crossing the alps. Well worth a listen.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
Where does Carthage Must Be Destroyed rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
It's in my top twenty- I'm generally fond of historical books and this is in my top 5, in that particular category.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I found the early sections of the book to be most enjoyable, in spite of a popular consensus that they are "Dryer" than the rest- indeed, to an extent I found the earlier parts the most engaging of the entire work, because of how well the author explains the painstaking work that goes into reconstructing any bit of useful historical information about Qart-Hadasht.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes. You'll learn a lot about Carthage, Carthaginians, and Carthage's relationship to Rome.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Hannibal to learn about, but not to like.
What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?
His voice was clear with gravitas that kept your attention.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Carthage isn't a subject given a lot of attention outside of as an antagonist for Republican Rome, fair enough, but Miles delves deep into the background of one of the great cities of the Ancient Mediterranean. Indeed, much of the book only sets the scene for the Second Punic War, which seems to be the primary focus (or at least the subject given the most attention) rather than the events immediately surrounding the destruction of Carthage.
Like a lot of popular history books these days, it seems, Carthage Must Be Destroyed relies heavily on connecting various, and sometimes loosely, related topics to provide an overarching narrative that grasps for word count rather than content. Miles' work here is more reminiscent of an excellent, if overly ambitious, undergrad thesis (or an underwhelming graduate one) than a moderately serious work designed as anything other than selling units.
While probably worth a read if one is interested in Carthage, or Republican Rome, actually reading the book, rather than listening to this audiobook, may be a better option. Gardner's narration, or more precisely his pronunciation, is often so randomly off that it's jarring. Ancient names and words, understandably, have a certain leeway with pronunciation but one is often forced to wonder if Gardner has ever thought to look up a word rather than attempt to sound it out. It's truly terrible.
6 of 11 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
not recomend this book as its just too hard to follow without knowing already a lot of background as the names of places and people and the area being spoken about is very complex and the dates being spoken about jump back and foward a lot. So not a very easy to listen too book.
Would you ever listen to anything by Richard Miles again?
What do you think the narrator could have done better?
Probably nothing without re-writing the book.
Was Carthage Must Be Destroyed worth the listening time?
Any additional comments?
I like to learn a bit of history, but this is the kind of thing that puts me off.
1 of 22 people found this review helpful
The book covers the whole history of Carthage from it's foundation to it's destruction. All the major events are covered, but if you want a more comprehensive account of the Punic wars and Hannibal, you will find better books on the market. I like the accounts of lesser know events such as the battle for Sicily with the Greeks, and the Mercenary Wars. The problem for any history of Carthage is that virtually all the sources are Roman or Greek, which are hostile, and getting a deep understand of how the Carthaginian thought and operated are difficult. The author discusses the problem of the bias in source material, which I'm a fan of.
As a scholar the author looks to emphasis the role of the divine in motivating ancient peoples, not just the political and economic. Heracles is constantly referred to as the ideal template for a conquering hero, but some of the subtles of how this related to the actions of the ancients was lost on me at times.
This history has both depth and is accessible, and I loved the final lines that said that when the Romans needed to be reminded how great they were they thought of the Punic Wars.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
clearly a very extensive book and informtion, let down by a very poor narrator
I also feel the title does not match the content of the book so well, many will be drawn to is based upon the roman/carthage wars, but there is also a huge amount of pre history to get through first.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed listening to this account of one of the lesser-known civilisations on the ancient world. Naturally the Punic Wars are better known, as is Hannibal's trip across the Alps, but this history covers the whole of Carthage's history, which puts those events into their proper context. The book is well written and covers all aspects of Carthage and her world - not just the fights with Rome. Of course evidence is scarce, but the story that emerges is interesting and well told.
The narrator reads the text well, and if not the greatest reading in the world then it is certainly plenty good enough and I found it easy to listen to. If you have an interest in Carthage or Republican Rome then this book is recommended.