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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scipio - Outstanding & Underated
Hart's book makes a strong case for the consideration of Scipio Africanus Major as one of the truly great military commanders of history. I have spent a great deal of time reading ancient and military history and have always been annoyed at the lack of information about this historical figure. Plutarch, argueably the greatest biographer ever, when writing his 'Lives' (a...
Published on November 1, 2000 by tydides

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48 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Am I reading a different book?
I think that the five-star rating of this book is vastly overstated.

This book has the following positive feature: it gives detailed and favorable treatment to Scipio, who has generally not received the attention and respect that he deserves.

That said, the following aspects of the book were a big turn-off for me:

-this book is simply...
Published on July 27, 2004 by Thomas Reiter


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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scipio - Outstanding & Underated, November 1, 2000
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This review is from: Scipio Africanus (Paperback)
Hart's book makes a strong case for the consideration of Scipio Africanus Major as one of the truly great military commanders of history. I have spent a great deal of time reading ancient and military history and have always been annoyed at the lack of information about this historical figure. Plutarch, argueably the greatest biographer ever, when writing his 'Lives' (a comparison of noble greeks and romans) intentionally omitted a description of Scipio and his greek counterpart Epaminondas because he felt they were the supreme examples of their respective societies. When I was fortunate enough to find this title on Amazon, I bought it no questions asked. This book would be a bargain at twice the price. Hart does an excellent job of presenting Scipio's military career and specific engagements in detailed and entertaining fashion. The material will appeal to both the beginning and hardcore military history buff alike. His descriptions of specific tactics as well as examples of Scipio's personal integrity are thoroughlly entertaining. Machiavelli in his classic 'The Prince' described how Scipio attempted to emulate and imitate Cyrus ("the great" - ancient Persian commander). I believe, that Hart has made the case to consider Scipio as greater than not only Napoleon, but Cyrus, Alexander or Ceasar.
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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book On The Great General., June 25, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Scipio Africanus (Paperback)
Liddell-Hart has delivered a godsend for military enthusiasts & readers alike,by finely narrating the campaigns & quite convincingly the achievements of this brilliant & great but quite appropriately forgotten general.
One of the greatest crimes of this book is the way the author undermines the greatness of the other three immortals of military antiquity:Alexander,Hannibal & Caesar.Though I would not go into great length to prove this,point by point,I would humbly suggest readers that after reading this book,to please look for other sources on the great generals aforementioned,so one could compare & see things in a much better,clearer,more factual light.I strongly suggest reading Theodore Dodge's books on these men.For if one were to rely on this book as a main source,one would be terribly misguided into believing Scipio as the greatest man & general in history.Which is definitely not the case.When all is summed up,comparing him to his rival,the case paves to this irrefutable fact:Hannibal was the original,innovative master,& Scipo his greatest pupil.
My other criticism,in a more technical term,is the lack of more maps in the book to detail & highlight his campaigns.Maps detailing the maneuveres in the Battle of the Great Plains,the burning of the Carthaginian camps,the battle against Andobales in Spain,The Siege Of Cartagena,etc.,would have made it a more instructive & fulfilling book.
Other than these,I would say that this is the best book on Scipio ever written,a great contribution to humanity in fact,in the sense that it brings to every reader the importance & achievement of a great man who is almost forgotten in the annals of history.And convinces him.And for this alone deserves the highest merit.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and informative book on Scipio, February 7, 2000
This review is from: Scipio Africanus (Paperback)
This was such an excellent book I had Amazon find the hardcover edition for my collection. Lidell-Hart has done an excellent job of a military review of Scipio. He has done a superb job of comparing Scipio's campaigns in Spain to the battles that were fought in Spain during the first world war. This is a very easy reading book while at the same time presenting the evidence found within Livy and Polybius in a very clear and concise manner. Although Lidell-Hart does not cite his evidence(I don't believe that this was as such a big deal at the start of the century that it is now) he does provide a bibliography of the ancient sources he used and it is pretty easy to follow if you have a good translation of Polybius. (The Rise of the Roman Empire would be best suited for reading before hand) Scipio who helped Rome to a fourth quater comeback (please excuse the footbal jargon)in perhaps one of her worst crisis and establish Rome as the military might of the Mediterranean world deserves his place in history and this book does a very fine job of doing just that.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing look at, possibly, history's greatest captain, June 10, 2000
This review is from: Scipio Africanus (Paperback)
Scipio Africanus is not the general one usually associates with Rome, but after reading Hart's biography of him, I am convinced that he was Rome's greatest captain. Hart's analysis is clear and concise, and he covers all the aspects of Africanus' genius in detail. Not only was Scipio an unrivalled military genius, but also a skilled diplomat, and a man of vision. Undefeated in battle, Scipio not only conquered Rome's enemies, but through dimplomacy was able to gain powerful allies, and fulfill his vision, of an acient world dominated, but not controlled, by Rome. Unfortunately, his high moral character did not allow him to play the game of politics and therefore, he was cheated out of his rightful place in history.
Hart, after presenting a strong case for Scipio's sumpremacy, moves on to compare him to other great captains. I believe he convincingly shows that no other general in history achieved Scipio's understanding of the breadth of war, and it's ultimate goal of creating a lasting peace. For this reason, Hart concludes that Scipio is the greatest captain of all time. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to read about the greatest general they never heard of!
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scipio wins at Zama!, February 22, 2000
By 
D. Roberts "Hadrian12" (Battle Creek, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Scipio Africanus (Paperback)
A greater than Napoleon? Probably not. But pretty darn good? That much is for certain. Hart writes a gripping biography of a truly remarkable personage.
One of the more noteworthy characteristics of this book lies in its detail. We are given an honest picture of Scipio, as well as his family's military heritage & dedication to Rome. It would appear that he was quite a humanitarian for his day & age. The book also illustrates some of the mind-boggling stupid politics that could interfere with a great general's resolve even way back then.
One thing I did not realize before reading Hart's book was that Scipio himself fought as a junior officer at Cannae. He was one of the precious few Roman soldiers to escape the wrath of Hannibal that day. Lucky for Rome he did....
This is a great book & a must read for any military historian or classical scholar. I would suggest that people read in conjunction with this work Theodore Ayrault Dodge's biography on Hannibal for the "other side" of this conflict. Although Dodge & Hart disagree on several key points, it is still useful to get a view of the story from an alternative angle. Also, for those who enjoy reading about Scipio half as much as I did, I recommend the sections on Gaius and Tiberius Gracchus from Plutarch's "Lives." They were the grandsons of Scipio. Enjoy!
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48 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Am I reading a different book?, July 27, 2004
By 
Thomas Reiter (Washington DC, DC United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Scipio Africanus (Paperback)
I think that the five-star rating of this book is vastly overstated.

This book has the following positive feature: it gives detailed and favorable treatment to Scipio, who has generally not received the attention and respect that he deserves.

That said, the following aspects of the book were a big turn-off for me:

-this book is simply an exercise in hero-worship, full of phrases such as "Is there any other man in all history..." or "the nobility of a man...who would stoop to take a subordinate position" among many others. It is even more blatant than Dodge's praise of Hannibal, which is saying something;

-the language is oddly phrased and stilted, at least to my 21st Century American ear;

-the book is largely a recital of the facts from Polybius and Livy, overlaid with forced or irrelevant comparisons of Scipio's or Rome's situation to some occurence during World War I, the Franco-Prussian War, etc.

Maybe I'm being overly harsh, but I am a big fan of military history, particularly of Roman period, and I was extremely relieved to finally finish this rather tedious book. Unfortunately, there are few others which dedicate sufficient attention to Scipio, who was certainly a remarkable character.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innovative Commander., April 8, 2006
This review is from: Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon (Paperback)
First, the authors initial premise that the victor does not always get the credit is sadly true. Which dispells many myths revisionists have been spewing for decades. Aspiring leaders could learn much from this and the authors other books. Here he has created a great story outlining the exploits of one of the worlds most underated generals. Dare I say hardly known?

Chapters 10 and 11 is where the true nature of the subject comes to life. In three dynamic years he crushed Carthaginian Spain, then launched his daring attack on Carthage. He details how Scipio's depth of thinking was far beyond most one-dimensional doctrines of his day. Without him Rome and the European Civilization that we so often take for granted, may have ended as part of a huge North African Empire. We owe the subject and the author a debt of gratitude.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greater Than Napoleon!, September 3, 2004
"So general is the recognition of Hannibal's genius in this battle art that he is commonly termed the supreme tactician of history. Yet in ruse and strategem the record of Scipio's battles is even richer (p.253)."

Author Basil H. Liddell Hart has created a wonderful story outlining the history and exploits of possibly the greatest general of any military force, Scipio Africanus.

Publius Cornelius Scipio was born in Rome in 235 B.C.; his first recorded taste of warfare was at the battle of the Ticinus, where Hannibal first clashed with the Romans after his famous passage through the Alps with his elephants, and in which Scipio's father was the commander. Here the 17 year old Scipio saved his father's life, and only two years later, the year of the Romans' disastrous defeat at Cannae, he was already the equivalent of a Colonel. In 210 B.C. the dynamic and charasmatic young Scipio was put in supreme command; Ticinus and Cannae were the only scenes of failure Scipio witnessed, for in command he never lost a battle. In three years he destroyed Carthaginian power in Spain and on his return to Italy pressed for a direct attack on Carthage. Made consul, he took his forces to Africa where he destroyed the forces of Carthage's great ally, Syphax. Two years later he clashed with Hannibal himself, annihilating his army in the decisive battle of Zama. For his triumph of arms, which finally broke Carthaginian power, he was awarded the title of "Africanus."

At 280 pages, this text is very entertaining and easy to read and understand. Without footnotes and only a short bibliography, the book is still a watershed of ancient military insight from the military historian master himself, B.H. Liddell Hart. I rate this text as five stars! Superb!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great General Gets His Due, October 30, 2006
This review is from: Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon (Paperback)
We've all heard of Hannibal and of the man who finally defeated the invader of Rome (on his own turf). But who does history remember? It certainly isn't the victorious general who *NEVER* lost a battle. While Hannibal might not have lost a battle until Zama, he simply wasn't able to finish the Romans off. This was simply due to the fact he wasn't equal to Scipio when it came to siege warfare. The author finally gives Scipio a book worthy to his name. What struck me the most about Scipio was the way he was treated by politicians back in Rome. One would think that the Senate would have done everything possible to ensure that Scipio was victorious and save Rome. However petty rivalries and jealousy were yet other obstacles to be overcome. History repeating itself. The man himself was not only a brilliant general but a very humble man who always put the republic needs above his own. Even though in the end he died in exile, on charges of bribery bought about by his enemies. Rome later cleared his name but the man who saved them from Hannibal, brought Spain, Carthage, Numidia, Sicily and Greece into the empire was treated no better than a common thief. History does indeed repeat itself.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars overkill, January 7, 2011
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This review is from: Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon (Paperback)
Unquestionably, Scipio was one of history's great commanders, and far too little of his fame has survived into the modern era. That being said, Liddell-Hart's relentless hagiography gets to be too much by the time the battle of Zama is over. Even accounting for the author's WW1 experience and disillusion with the military leaders of his time, his praise goes beyond admiration into sickeningly fawning adulation of the kind generally reserved for the cult of ancient emperors and modern dictators.
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Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon
Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon by Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart (Paperback - Mar. 2004)
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