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In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire Hardcover – May 1, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Here is a highly readable compendium of military experience; Goldsworthy knows his material inside out, and he concentrates on key episodes in the campaign of outstanding Roman commanders... This is a rewarding study of the luck and judgement of powerful men, and how they put it to use in the service of Rome's imperium. HISTORY TODAY (Nov 2003) .

About the Author

Adrian Goldsworthy has a doctorate from Oxford University. His first book, THE ROMAN ARMY AT WAR, was recognised by John Keegan as an exceptional work, original in treatment and impressive in style. His other books include THE PUNIC WARS, and the volume on ROMAN WARFARE in John Keegan's History of Warfare series.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; 1st edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297846663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297846666
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,159,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on May 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Roman-era expert Adrian Goldsworthy has written an outstanding history of seven centuries of Roman generalship with his latest volume, In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire. This is Goldsworthy's first volume that is focused primarily on individuals, rather than organizational studies of the Roman Army, but he handles the material deftly and brings these characters into sharp focus as individuals, rather than as mere ciphers. Goldsworthy also attempts to divine general lessons about the nature of the Roman command style from the behavior of these generals, many of whom are not well-known to modern readers.

Each chapter in this volume details the career of one or two generals in a given period and the chapters are arranged sequentially, covering the period from the Second Punic War to the 6th Century A.D. Generally, Goldsworthy covers each of these Roman commanders in 25-30 pages as well as providing background material about contemporary conflicts and leaders. It is particularly impressive that Goldsworthy has been able to construct such a rich narrative on these generals, given the fragmentary and incomplete nature of the historical record. The chapters on Sertorius and Corbulo were particularly enlightening. Readers may also note that Goldsworthy's discussion of the Emperor Julian's generalship is far less complementary - although probably more accurate - than some modern accounts that attempt to rank him alongside Julius Caesar.

Goldsworthy disputes the oft-held opinion that Roman generals were military amateurs and instead depicts them as professional public figures who alternated between military, civic and political roles.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By BCA Bortignon on January 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am a new-comer to military history, and thought I should start with the Romans, the ancestors of tactical warfare. I am glad I picked up Mr. Goldsworthy's book. By selecting various generals who have influenced or been indicative of some evolution in military/political atmospheres Goldsworthy has created an extremely broad and interesting history stretching from Fabius Maximus in the Second Punic War right up to Belisarius fighting for the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Before delving into their military achievements, Goldsworthy outlines the historical context, as there are many century long jumps or more in later chapters where generals became less influenial (or were not allowed to be by paranoid emperors afraid of being toppled), then gives a brief biography of each general - perhaps too brief for my liking. I would have preferred Goldworthy to extend the book by a couple of hundred pages and hand out some more detailed information and analysis of their lives and times; at present these often one or two page linkages are forgotten by the end of the chapter, and certainly by the end of the book. His writing and research is of a high enough standard for any reader to accept such extensions.

On the plus side - and there are many plus sides - Goldsworthy presents a detailed (as detailed as ancient sources can provide) and comprehensive account of military tactics and concerns which are absolutely fascinating. Contrary to popular belief, battles of the time were not simply two big armies walking in to each other. It was a complicated game of flanking and routing, feints and deception, supply line maintenance and organisation, sieging and recruting.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Terry Tucker on February 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is well researched and well written. Depending on your level of experience and reading, this book will enhance and supplement your understanding of both the basics of warfare in Antiquity and also wll provide good examples of tactical, operational and strategic lessons learned. The book also provides excellent vignettes on the crucial importance that politics and diplomacy have in war; as well as some glaring examples of the consequences for those that fail to follow the subtle rules of power politics while attempting to advance one's career.

Although the Author indicates that this book is about the men that won the Roman Empire, it also provides useful examples that illustrate the fog, friction and uncertainty of war. For instance; Chapter three speaks to the Conqueror of Macedonia, Aemilius Paullus, but this chapter also provides a useful illustration of an "meeting engagement". All in all, this is a very valuable reference tool for the novice to the subject matter expert.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carl Reddick on February 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This looked a little daunting but Adrian Goldsworth held my intellectual hand and walked me through 700 years of Roman history as seen from the viewpoint of the fightin' generals. Goldsworth demands a bit of rigor from his readers but the payoffs are fun and worthwhile. Join Africanus as he lays waste to Carthage, Caesar in France and Germany, and everbody else in Spain. Weapons and discipline are explained patiently. (When you get tired of crucifying enemies the regular way, try some new positions where the folks looking out at your camp can see what you have in store for them unless they surrender) He helps you understand how the process of war changed with the political drama constantly unfolding back in Rome. And finally helps you come to grips with why commanders ultimately came to feel that Rome was irrelevant. This is a meaty book for the serious ancient history fan. Thanks Adrian !
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