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I purchased this book because of a life-long love affair with the Punic Wars and the amazing personalities involved. Carey does a superb job giving his readers an overview of the First Punic War and the Carthaginian and Roman military machines involved. He then delves into reconstructing the Second Punic War, paying special attention to the strategy and tactics employed by both the Romans and Carthaginians in this conflict at land and at sea. Individual chapters are dedicated to the early campaigns of Hannibal Barca and Scipio Africanus leading up to an exhaustive treatment of the battle of Zama and its implications to Western Civilization. Carey then follows the careers of thse two commanders post Zama and ends the book with a treatment of the third and final Punic War. The tactical maps are outstanding, and the book comes with a chronology of the Punic Wars, as well as numerous glossaries on Roman and Carthaginians political and military terms. This is a short book and a fine survey of the wars that gave Rome mastery of the western Mediterranean.
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Posted December 7, 2008
Carey presents a well-researched and very readable account of the epic military struggle between ancient Rome and Carthage known to history as the Punic Wars. The author breathes life into the ancient historical accounts of Polybius and Livy and supplements his concise narrative with great tactical maps, setting it a part from British Field Marshal Bagnall's book. As the title suggests, the strength of this book is the reconstruction of the Battle of Zama in 202, complete with an eleven map reconstruction of this important engagement. Although lean on political history, this book is a fine introduction to how the Romans and Carthaginians waged Europe's first "Great War".
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Posted December 8, 2008
I picked up this book because I enjoyed Professor Carey's first two books, but unlike those books which were more like textbooks, this book does a real good job explaining the story of the Punic Wars. Once again, the book comes with great tactical maps and regional maps, and this one also has a bunch of glossaries that help keep all of the Roman and Carthaginian names straight. It was easy to picture the battles and the slaughter from the book's descriptions. This is another fine book!
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Posted March 30, 2009
It is a good read. The author covers the Punic Wars including his subject-Hannibal. The title may be just a little wrong.
If memory serves me correctly he doesn't list Col. Dodges work as a source. The volume covering Hannibal's campaigns should have been consulted because the Col.told the basic story upon which more recent writers depend.
Posted January 3, 2009
Posted December 6, 2008
This is an excellent, concise account of Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, and the Punic Wars. It is organized well in a sensible layout that presents all the facts in an easily readable format. It is an excellent starting point for any ancient history course. It is very well documented and researched, provides an extensive bibliography, and numerous tactical maps of all the battles that are simple and easy to follow. It is a useful resource for the average military historian and or ancient history scholar.<BR/><BR/>The book does fall short in several areas. While the tactical maps are great, they tend to lack detail when it comes to describing the terrain. Admittedly, the locations of many of the battlefields, such as Zama, are no longer known. However, a full understanding of any military engagement requires a thorough examination of the ground that it took place upon. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever tried to do this with any of Hannibal's battles. <BR/>The strategic maps were average. There were several times when it would have been helpful if they had been more detailed or actually present. A perfect example is the section detailing Scipio's initial invasion of lower Spain and his capture of New Carthage. The reader is left to guess at just where the three Carthaginian Armies are in relation to Scipio's line of advance. This makes it difficult to grasp the audacity of his strategy or to understand how he could get away with it.<BR/>Finally the book lacks detailed military assessment. This is both a disappointments and a blessing. It is disappointing because there is little new assessment of any of the battles or engagements. Instead the author is content to repeat what has been repeated by many others and accept many previous conclusions. The author does dabble a little into assessment of Hannibal and Scipio as generals. His assessment of Hannibal is solid, though uncreative. His assessment of Scipio is provocative and debatable. While this is disappointing, it strengthens the book as a whole. It lays out the facts without undue fuss, presenting them to the reader for their own assessment and judgment. There is little attempt to sway the reader towards any particular viewpoint. At the same time it raises questions and encourages debate. Thus in conclusion the book is an excellent history of the time period full of information for the average historian and an enjoyable read. Thank you for this excellent book Mr. Carey.
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Posted April 12, 2009
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