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The Roman War Machine (Medieval Military Library) Paperback – June, 1997

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Paperback, June, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Peddie wrote many books, including 'Conquest'. Hannibal's War and 'Alfred Warrior King' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Medieval Military Library
  • Paperback: 169 pages
  • Publisher: Combined Books (June 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0938289853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0938289852
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,842,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 31, 1998
Format: Paperback
It is some time since I read the book so my memory will be playing up, hence this will be rather vague. Essentially Peddie (a retired officer in the British Army) illuminates one aspect of the Roman Army in each chapter. This ranges from the Roman equivalent of staff officers, battlefield communications, marching camp techniques, siege warfare, equipment and other points. Some of the more interesting contents are his rebuffs of what many other military historians have perceived as weaknesses or want in the Roman Army. He clearly points out how everything served a valuable purpose in the Roman Army and what many have assumed were missing were actually there in one form or another. He also draws surprising similarities between the British campaign in Burma during WWII and the Roman way of war. All in all a most satisfying and clear read, though perhaps he digresses a bit too much on some occassions.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By SUPPORT THE ASPCA. on January 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Mr. Peddie knows his subject, the sources he sites and the detail are good. But, after a short time you start wondering if this book is about the Romans or the English?The first chapter on generalship and the last on siege warfare were the best. However, neglecting an innovative Roman commander like Marius left a whole in what could have been a fine line of continuity. Why was there no mention of the latters triumphs over the Cimbri, and Teutones? Had Marius lost Roman Civ. would have been swamped by the Germans five centuries earlier. Thus, the careers of Julius Caeser and Octavius Augustus would not have happened stunting the growth and possible existence of Western Civilization. I deduct one star for this illogical omission.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Debbie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Except for the fact I couldn't read this book at night because it put me to sleep, it actually was a good, informative book. Some of the information wasn't relevant to my search for answers, but that same information might be exactly what others are looking for. For example, some reviewers have complained that the book focuses too much time on modern British WWII examples of the same problems the Romans faced, but I found that interesting since I'm making a study of war, not just Roman war.

What I absolutely loved about this book is the details it went into: it had charts about how far did the various missile weapons reached, talked about how signals were passed along, how much food would need to be brought along, how many baggage carts, wagons, or mules needed to carry it, and the 'why' that's always stumped me: why an army could only move about 10-12 miles a day. The answer? The column was so long (when baggage carts, etc, were included) that the first part of the column would be reaching the new camp and starting to set up before the last of the column was even leaving the old camp! He crunches the numbers to 'prove' it. These were just the types of numbers I was looking for, so I consider this book a jewel since I haven't found them elsewhere (in my admittedly small research done so far).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John Peddie’s The Roman War Machine is a well researched and written account of the reasons behind the Roman military’s battlefield success during the late Republic and early Empire periods. Several of the subjects he covers have been either sparsely written about in the past, or he provides new evidence to counter claims of previous historians. For readers looking for a concise volume on the Roman military, or new material on often overlooked subjects, this book is highly recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Flint F. Johnson on March 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
An intriguing book I was surprised to come across. This book explains the nuts and bolts of the Roman army. The writer's style is not that of a teacher, but neither is he overly academic. He says what he wants to say, explains all aspects of the Roman army on the move, and goes on. This a great book!
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