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The Punic Wars Hardcover – June 30, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Cassell (June 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304352845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304352845
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The three Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage from 264 to 146 B.C. irrevocably changed the course of ancient history. Carthage, with her empire centered in North Africa, was humbled and then destroyed. Before the wars, Rome's power was limited to the Italian peninsula; by the end of the wars, Rome was the dominant power in the Mediterranean and was poised on the brink of even greater imperial expansion. Goldsworthy is an Oxford graduate and clinical scholar with particular expertise in Roman military history. His survey of this pivotal conflict is a masterful account that will appeal to both specialists and general readers who appreciate a superbly told story. Goldsworthy explains complicated military moves in easily understood language, and he conveys the vast scope and carnage of the wars with both insight and objectivity. His portraits of some of the key players, including Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, and Fabius Maximus, are both informative and thought-provoking. This story, of course, has been told before, but rarely as well. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Adrian Goldsworthy has a doctorate from Oxford University. His first book, The Roman Army at War was recognised by John Keegan, the general Editor of TheHistory of Warfare, as an exceptionally impressive work, original in treatment and impressive in style. His other books include The Punic Wars, and the vo

More About the Author

Adrian Goldsworthy was born in 1969 in Cardiff. He was educated in Penarth and then read Ancient and Modern History at St. John's College, Oxford, where he subsequently completed his doctorate in ancient history. His D.Phil. Thesis was the basis for his first book, The Roman Army At War 100 BC - AD 200, which looked at how the Roman army actually operated on campaign and in battle.

For several years he taught in a number of universities, and began to write for a wider audience. A succession of books followed dealing with aspects of ancient military history, including Roman Warfare, The Punic Wars (which was later re-issued as the Fall of Carthage), Cannae, In the Name of Rome and the Complete Roman Army. More recently he has looked at wider themes, combining the military focus with discussion of politics and society in a biography of Caesar, and a study of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, titled How Rome Fell (although released in the UK as The Fall of the West). His latest book is a paired biography of Antony and Cleopatra.

He is now a full time writer, and no longer teaches, although he is currently a Visiting Fellow at the University of Newcastle. However, he frequently gives one off lectures and talks both to universities and other groups in the UK, USA, Canada, and Europe. In the last couple of years audiences have included local history societies, graduates and undergraduates in a range of countries, the cadets of VMI, and the distinguished cast of a new production of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. He frequently appears as a talking head or presenter in TV documentaries and has acted as consultant on both documentaries and dramas. He will appear in six of the eight episodes of the forthcoming When Rome ruled series for National Geographic. He often appears on radio.

More information can be found on his website - www.adriangoldsworthy.com

Customer Reviews

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This make this book very ideal to read and understand, a hallmark of a very good military history book.
lordhoot
Mr. Goldsworthy presents a clean and concise analysis of the three Punic Wars which beset Rome and Carthage in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.
Roger Kennedy
In this new book on the Punic Wars by Adrian Goldsworthy we are taken back into this most fascinating period of history.
Aussie Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Aussie Reader on March 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"DELENDA EST CARTHAGO"
"Carthage Must be Destroyed" those most famous words were spoken by Marcus Porcius Cato in the 2nd Century BC. In this new book on the Punic Wars by Adrian Goldsworthy we are taken back into this most fascinating period of history. We follow in the steps of Hannibal, Hasdrubal, Hamilcar, Scipio Africanus and many more famous and infamous commanders and leaders as the Roman Legions and the soldiers and sailors of Carthage clash in this gigantic struggle of the Ancient World.
Each of the three wars are described in as much detail as possible bearing in mind the lack of primary sources for some periods. We follow the stalemate in Sicily during the First Punic War (264-241 BC). Then the more famous struggle in Spain and Italy during the Second Punic War (218-202 BC), followed by the final Roman victory in the Third Punic War (149-146 BC).
The author provides details of all the famous battles, Trebia, Lake Trasimene, Cannae and of course Zama. He also follows the lesser-known campaigns in Spain, Macedonia and Sicily. I found the author to be very fair in his assessment of the commanders and their decisions and offers comments on the sources used in his book and others.
I would compare this book favourably with Nigel Bagnall's `Punic Wars' and both books sit proudly in my library. The author took the time to explain the military traditions, training and tactics of the two opponents, which assisted greatly when it came to follow the battles. 16 maps are provided to assist in the narrative and all where of a decent standard however, no illustrations were to be found in the book.
The book was easy to read and the narrative flowed along faultlessly. Overall this is a very decent one-volume account of the Punic Wars and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys decent history or who has a love for this period.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Glenn McDorman on August 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
One of the most confusing dramas throughout human history is the Second Punic War; the nature of the First and Third, although more easily understood, simply add to this confusion. Adrian Goldsworthy has put together a narrative history that easily solves this problem. The story he presents is clear, concise, and devoid of an overemphasis on unfamiliar names.
This single-volume history of all three conflicts is clearly the best out there. Goldsworthy does an excellent job of neutrally explaining the cuases of all three (difficult to do, as all the sources are Roman). The conflict is expertly explained without getting bogged down in the details of too many individual battles. Strategy and tactics are explained as resulting from the technology and culture of the time in a way that is both informative and interesting.
One of the best aspects of this book is that it is filled with maps, and that they are placed in the book at the precise moment when you need to consult one. This is so rare in contemporary writing that praise for this should be counted doubly.
The one detractor of the book is that it is lacking in illustrations. Naval and siege technologies are described in some detail, yet very few complimentary illustrations or diagrams are offered. However, I'll (and I assume you will too) take the maps over the illustrations any day.
Essentially, this is the finest book on the subject, and is highly recommended for readers of all historical interests...
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Roger Kennedy VINE VOICE on June 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Goldsworthy presents a clean and concise analysis of the three Punic Wars which beset Rome and Carthage in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. There is not much to quibble about with this book, presenting as it does one of the best studies of all there conflicts out there. The author discusses the primary works of Polybius, Appian, Livy and others and lists their strong and weak points in describing the Punic conflict.
What the book lacks if anything is a few illustrations showing the reader what some of the naval vessels of the period looked like. The detailed descriptions provided of their construction and use is not supported by any pictures. Otherwise, the narrative flows smoothly, with the author commenting on the validity of the principal primary works and attempting to fill in the gaps with his own astute ideas. Obviously the information on the 2nd Punic War with Hannibal's epic invasion of Rome is the most completely covered. The author provides a great blow by blow description of the early campaigns in Italy from Hannibal's first success at the Trebbia River to Cannae itself. Our information on the 1st and 3rd Punic Wars is much less complete and therefor receives correspondlingly less attention.
The author is careful not to compare the military genius of Hannibal and Scipio Africanus, believing that such comparisons are poinless, even if fun for the military historian. Goldsworthy tries to fill in the numerous gaps left by the primary sources with his own hypothesis which allows the reader to make his own conclusions.
This book provides fresh analysis of an age-old conflcit often seen to this day with many myths.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James Paris on November 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Toward the end of his fascinating history of the Punic Wars, author Adrian Goldsworthy speculates that one of the reasons for Carthage's fall is that the African empire was too exclusively mercantile in its mindset. Somehow, the notion that they could grow their empire through a consistent plan of conquest never quite took root in their minds. Carthage could boast one of the greatest generals in all of history in Hannibal Barca; yet they let his campaign in Italy fizzle from lack of follow-through.

If Carthage represented a failure of the imagination, Rome always seemed to have their eyes on the prize. Even after Trebia, Lake Trasimene, and the slaughter at Cannae, Rome simply refused to treat with Hannibal. Moreover, they did not make the mistake of limiting their focus to Italy alone: They continued to fight in Spain, Cisalpine Gaul, and even Illyria and Greece. Once they had developed a powerful general in Scipio Africanus, they successfully invaded the Carthaginian mainland while Hannibal was bottled up in the toe of Italy.

Hannibal could destroy Rome's armies in the fields, but he was never strong enough to take Rome itself. Under the intelligent, if at times arthritic, generalship of Fabius Cunctator, Rome managed to avoid fighting pitched battles with Hannibal's army for over 12 years while at the same time keeping him bottled up away from the vicinity of Rome. More seriously, Hannibal failed to persuade any major Italian cities -- with the sole exception of Capua -- to throw in their lot with Carthage. From the outset, his battle plan was to live off the land; but to defeat Rome, he also had to woo the land to his side.

It is a great pity that there exist no histories of the wars from the Carthaginian side.
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