Customer Reviews


29 Reviews
5 star:
 (15)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Fare for History Buffs and Leaders Alike
For would-be leaders, for amateur ancient history buffs, and, yes, even for professional scholars of antiquity, Strauss's latest book has much to offer. Countless indeed are the works written about all three of these giants of history, yet in Masters of Command the reader will find important new perspectives and that rarest of things when dealing with the ancient world:...
Published on June 17, 2012 by M. A. Sears

versus
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Battle Analysis, Otherwise Flawed
Strauss does an excellent job describing and interpreting battles; however, he makes two major mistakes that should never appear in books of history: 1) he applies 21st century morals to cultures that are incredibly different than modern cultures, and 2) he presumes to know what emotions and motivations ancient persons experienced when there is no factual evidence to make...
Published on August 11, 2012 by bonnie_blu


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Fare for History Buffs and Leaders Alike, June 17, 2012
This review is from: Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership (Hardcover)
For would-be leaders, for amateur ancient history buffs, and, yes, even for professional scholars of antiquity, Strauss's latest book has much to offer. Countless indeed are the works written about all three of these giants of history, yet in Masters of Command the reader will find important new perspectives and that rarest of things when dealing with the ancient world: lessons relevant to modern life. Without simply eulogizing Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar, in eloquent and accessible prose Strauss shows us which of their methods worked - and didn't work - in leading armies, acquiring empires, and dealing with pesky politicians. This book offers many insights for today's leaders, both actual and aspiring, all through the medium of a compelling narrative sure to satisfy anyone eager for a good story.

Strauss brings to the study of warfare his idea of the five stages of war: attack, resistance, clash, closing the net, and knowing when to stop. Deftly he shows how the three generals respectively fared at each stage, offering his own expert opinion as to who managed the best. For instance, while Alexander and Hannibal were past-masters at the "clash" stage, performing feats at Gaugamela and Cannae hardly equaled in all of history, Caesar pursued the soundest strategy while "closing the net" around the supporters of Pompey after the Battle of Pharsalus. Where each general failed the most was in knowing when to stop. As Strauss argues, all three were military conquerors, in thrall to the sound of the war trumpet. None - except perhaps Caesar in his most prescient moments - was a true statesman, capable of ruling what had been won through so much hard fighting. Today's leaders - those in politics, business, or any conceivable field - would be wise to take note of Strauss' words of caution in this regard.

As a professional ancient historian myself, I am well acquainted with the legends and I dare say many of the facts surrounding Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar. And yet Strauss had me thinking in new ways about all three. Take for instance the sacking and burning of the great Persian capital of Persepolis under Alexander's army. What to many ancient historians seems the crime of an undisciplined mob of conquerors is reinterpreted by Strauss as a deliberate move on the part of Alexander to deprive the Persians of the seat of their religion, what might have proved a site at which to mobilize future resistance against their new master. As Strauss reminds time and again, these three generals were nothing if not prodigies of public relations, a fact even those most familiar with history often downplay.

Read this book, and take its lessons to heart. And don't forget, as Strauss himself cautions us: Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar achieved things scarcely believable, but not all of their actions are to be emulated.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barry Strauss is the Master Of Command!, June 11, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership (Hardcover)
Once again, a hearty thank you to Irene Hahn, and her august group, Roman History Reading Group on their recommendation of Barry Strauss' Master of Command. Absolutely loved it. He writes in a way that even a 'laymen', like myself, can easily understand and enjoy. I found the accounts of each of his Commanders, Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar to be exhilarating, extremely well thought out, and his assessment and comparison of each, profound! Not having a 'Classical Education', did not prevent me from devouring, comprehending, and enjoying this masterpiece! And proves once again, that the stories and events of antiquity, are far more entertaining and interesting than anything coming out of Hollywood. And he justifies my admiration of the Divine One, by claiming in conclusion, that Caesar was the best Commander and Leader. But not by much. Thank you, Barry!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masters of Command, May 9, 2012
This review is from: Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership (Hardcover)
Barry Strauss has written a superb assessment of three of the greatest commanders in history: Alexander the Great, Hannibal, and Julius Caesar. He makes ancient history come alive, describing the battles--both military and political--that these leaders faced. But the qualities needed for success then still apply today: ambition, judgment, leadership, audacity, strategy, Divine Providence, and others.
Today's business people and politicians would be well served by reading this wonderfully written book to see how and why great leaders succeed and fail. I thoroughly enjoyed Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Very Much Enjoyed This!, December 22, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership (Hardcover)
This is by no means an in-depth review at all, its just a few words of my enjoyment of the book. I enjoyed how the author paced the book, starting with Alexander, moving onto Hannibal, and then ending with Caesar. It made for an enjoyable read each night and I highly recommend it especially to ancient history buffs and to anyone else.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who's Da Man?, November 14, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership (Hardcover)
Barry Strauss has given us a concise overview and comparison of ancient history's three greatest captains. As a field artilleryman who served for 30 years with 12 years overseas including a combat tour in Vietnam followed by 12 years as a high school history teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed "Masters of Command." I applaud Barry's efforts in producing this slim, yet informative, volume.
In my Military History classes, we spent quite a lot of time on Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar during our study of ancient warfare. As a culminating "Who's Da Man" exercise, I would divide the class into three groups and instruct them to convince the rest of the class that their general was the greatest. Their presentations were quite lively, always humorous, and often insightful. I was thus glad to see that Barry shared with us his view as to who was the "fairest of them all." My personal choice is Hannibal because he did so much with so little for so long with virtually no support from home.
My only criticism is with his organization and the chapter headings he used for comparisons. I just felt uncomfortable with his five stages. I feel that he should have included "preparation" as a stage before "attack" and he should have used different terminology for "closing the net" and "knowing when to stop."
Anyone interested in ancient military history should include "Masters of Command" in their reading program.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not what it claimed to be..., January 2, 2013
This review is from: Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership (Hardcover)
As I have read in some other reviews, the book itself is not bad [though it *does* get a tad repetitive], however it is not so much an analysis of leadership as it is a historical record. Sure, Strauss outlines the qualities he believes create a great leader, but he never really explains how those elements transition to success or what modern readers can really learn from them--how they can be applied to modern lives [yes, the reader can do this however it is implied early on that he will give his 2 cents as well]].

What he does do exceptionally well is give an introduction to the three generals in the book. As a huge Alexander history buff, I admit that [and the failed promise of a discussion about leadership] is the primary reason I picked this up, but after reading the book I find myself looking more into Hannibal (and, to a lesser extent, Caesar). At the end of the book Strauss also does the reader a tremendous favor by listing about 10 pages of other recommended reading that includes commentary on what each book entails (it's an extension of dialog--not a list; historical writers should take note!).

Overall I did enjoy the book though I felt it did not live up to its promise; if Strauss wanted to focus on battles and historical record he really should have made this much more clear in the beginning and he should have taken the time to fully delve into the material (240 pages is just barely scratching the surface). You should read this book if you enjoy military history or if you are interested in one of the 3 figures, but if you are looking for something that relates ancient lessons to modern times this is not the book for you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ancient Greats - A Different Perspective, July 26, 2012
This review is from: Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership (Hardcover)
Author Barry Strauss provides an analysis of the leadership qualities of the three great commanders of the ancient world. He discusses each of their campaigns and the political environment in which they took place.

Strauss notes that all three had to go to war: Alexander needed a successful conquest to earn respect in the kingship he inherited; Caesar had too many enemies to distinguish himself in Rome; and Hannibal had limited career options in Carthage or Spain and perhaps none outside of the military. This makes you ponder how much of war is waged, throughout history to today, for career purposes.

While these commanders had brilliant careers, they had weaknesses and there were losses among their historic wins. Both Caesar and Alexander, who inspired incredible loyalty, experienced mutinies. Alexander didn't grasp the strategic importance of a navy. Hannibal had great tactics but, overall, poor strategy. One, among many interesting observations is that while all were great, none of them really ended their war(s) in a satisfactory way.

The presentation of the battles and campaign strategy was very good for the general reader. The maps are helpful and the labeling follows the text. There is a lot of insight here on motivation and endurance.

I highly recommend this book for those interested in these commanders and/or their eras.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone with a passion for classical history, June 7, 2012
This review is from: Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership (Hardcover)
Another finely-crafted history from Professor Strauss, who manages to bring his characters to life. However well-known - and few leaders whether classical or modern match up with the likes of Alexander, Hannibal and Caeser - Strauss turns stereotype into three-dimensional figues, replete with characteristics to be emulated (or not) in the modern world. An elegant read - balancing academic rigour with page-turning style. This book belongs on the shelf of every leader or aspiring leader!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Battle Analysis, Otherwise Flawed, August 11, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership (Hardcover)
Strauss does an excellent job describing and interpreting battles; however, he makes two major mistakes that should never appear in books of history: 1) he applies 21st century morals to cultures that are incredibly different than modern cultures, and 2) he presumes to know what emotions and motivations ancient persons experienced when there is no factual evidence to make such judgements.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lessons in Command, October 5, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Another MP3 audio book - good to listen to while traveling. I've read the book but the audio is even more enjoyable. Wish there were more MP3 history available
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership
Used & New from: $3.06
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.