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Publisher's Summary

To say the Punic Wars (264-146 BC) were a turning point in world history is a vast understatement. This bloody and protracted conflict pitted two flourishing Mediterranean powers against one another, leaving one an unrivalled giant and the other a literal pile of ash. To later observers, a collision between these civilizations seemed inevitable and yet to the Romans and Carthaginians at the time hostilities first erupted seemingly out of nowhere, with what were expected to be inconsequential results.

Mastering the West offers a thoroughly engrossing narrative of this century of battle in the western Mediterranean, while treating a full range of themes: the antagonists' military, naval, economic, and demographic resources; the political structures of both republics; and the postwar impact of the conflicts on the participants and victims. The narrative also investigates questions of leadership and the contributions and mistakes of leaders like Hannibal, Fabius the Delayer, Scipio Africanus, Masinissa, and Scipio Aemilianus.

Dexter Hoyos, a leading expert of the period, treats the two great powers evenly, without neglecting the important roles played by Syracuse, Macedon, and especially Numidia. Written with verve in a clear, accessible style, Mastering the West will be the most reliable and engaging narrative of this pivotal era in ancient history.

©2015 Oxford University Press (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great story -- coughing, breathy narrator.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Overall, I learned a lot from the author but laughed at the poor production.

What did you like best about this story?

The history is compelling and insightful.

How could the performance have been better?

The producer did not catch the cough at 5:27 in audio CHAPTER 5 nor the loud inhalations throughout the recording.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

yes

Any additional comments?

AUDIBLE's quality is starting to drop.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Jarring narration ruins an otherwise great history

Did no one at the publisher think to give a proof read listen to this audiobook before letting it be submitted to the public?

I was soldiering my way through, forgiving the slightly mispronounced words at first such as instead of Hannibal, it was more like Han E. Ball, much like saying John F Kennedy.

But it got worse, and not steadily, but suddenly! As soon as we begin with the 2nd Punic War, the narrator suddenly forgets how to pronounce Latin names. And boy is it jarring! Fabius the Delayer becomes Fab A Uass. The narrator actually pronounces the same name about 4 different ways to the point that the listener isn't quite sure if he is talking about the same person anymore or not.

Had the narrator pronounced names like that from the start, I could have gotten over it and finished the book. It is the fact that half way through he forgets how to read Latin!

Geez.

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  • Performance
  • Story

Interesting book, indifferent reader and editing

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The pros: The book is great. I will probably buy a copy so I can finish the story. Well written and engaging. The narrator's voice has a lovely tone.<br/><br/>The cons: the narrator's flat vowels and indifferent Latin pronunciation is grating. It is also not well edited; there are a few instances where the narrator repeats a sentence and one point where he coughs.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

An brief history of the Punic Wars

What did you like best about Mastering the West? What did you like least?

I liked the battle information but it seemed that the author could've added more I think. It's very concise, which isn't really a bad thing, I just hoped for more.

What didn’t you like about Tom McElroy’s performance?

The author had some trouble with pronunciation, but overall he did a good job. There was one part where he literally cleared his throat during the reading. Of course reading out loud for a long time will make any person need to do that, but the people who didn't edit that out or re record that bit really dropped the ball. (The 2 star rating is because of the editing. I'd give the author higher marks on his own, and higher still for pronunciation. He's probably very good in other books).

Any additional comments?

"Carthage Must Be Destroyed" was a better read I think. Other books on the Punic Wars were better as well. This wasn't poorly done by any means. Its just not my favorite.

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  • Performance
  • Story

Great Book, Not the Best Reader for It

Would you consider the audio edition of Mastering the West to be better than the print version?

No, because the reader struggled with the plethora of Latin names and such.

What did you like best about this story?

Very well written history, with a concise narrative drive.

What didn’t you like about Tom McElroy’s performance?

Just not equipped to read a book so full of classical names.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

How the West Was Won

Any additional comments?

This is a recent title, so I am mystified why there wasn't more careful vetting of the reader for it. It is a bit specialized, so a good reader for classical history was in order. Is there none? I'm sure McElroy is quite competent as a reader for other things.