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From Armageddon to the Fall of Rome: How the Myth Makers Changed the World Hardcover – May 1, 2003

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

PRAISE FOR THE HINGE FACTOR: 'His tales of mayhem and confusion can be gripping, informative and genuinely idea-provoking. He reveals again and again, the casual impact of happenstance.' -- Independent 'Erik Durschmeid's revelations are wholly captivating.' -- Manchester Evening News 'Gripping, riveting. Fascinating. Even when you're sure you know what happened and whodunit, Erik Durschmeid provides another twist.' -- Scotsman PRAISE FOR THE HINGES OF BATTLE: 'The Hinges of Battle is more or less a sequel to Durschmied's previous book and is just as readable. The Hinges of Battle should have a wide readership' -- Nicholas Fearn, Independent on Sunday 'A collection of cracking adventure stories told with infectious enthusiasm, in a book that allows the reader to virtually participate in momentous history-changing events' -- Waterstone's Books Quarterly 'An entertaining and fascinating read' -- Lancashire Evening Post

About the Author

Erik Durschmied was born in Vienna in 1930. After the Second World War he emigrated to Canada. A television war correspondent for the BBC and CBS, Durschmied covered every major crisis, from Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Belfast, Beirut, Chile, to Cuba and Afghanistan. Winner of numerous awards, Newsweek wrote 'Durschmied is a supremely gifted reporter who has transformed the media he works in.' And in Le Monde: 'He's survived more battles than any living general.' Erik has just been appointed Professor of Military History at The Military Academy of Austria. He lives in Paris and Provence with his family.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Publishers (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340821779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340821770
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 7.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,762,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Popular histories are often looked down on by professional scholars. Which is unfair really. Popular histories may lack the vetting of the peer review process but many of them provide a perfectly reliable view of events. Good popular histories offer accommodating prose and a cushioning of major debates in order to draw in new readers.

This is not one of those books.

Uncountable inaccuracies spring up from the very beginning. The account of the battle of Megiddo matches up with the real battle in only the broadest strokes, and is filled with tedious rhetoric. The book is clearly intended to be read like a novel and follows that path clearly, even to the extent of including imaginary dialogue between participants. That's right, he makes up entire speeches. And the worst part is he isn't even explicit about when he's doing so.

The bronze age clearly bores him since we quickly move on to Greek and Roman times. In under fifty pages we've covered a thousand years. Why even bother covering Megiddo, honestly? He's clearly more interested in the classical era. It's much better documented and more familiar to most of his audience. Which is why it's surprising to see him continue to get everything wrong. From describing the Spartan warriors as bearing 13 foot Macedonian sarissas at Thermopylae to describing legions as composing 5,000 hoplites, 4,000 velites, and 800 cavalry, there seems to be no fact so basic he cannot screw it up.

His understanding of the battles themselves is no better as they are heavy on hyperbole and "character" and weak on facts. Interpretations are taken from better authors and rewritten. Those interpretations he creates himself are wrong. For example, did you know that Hannibal won his battles by inventing the commando unit?
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Format: Hardcover
In a brilliant and highly readable analysis of ancient history, Erik Durschmiedt uses 17 decisive battles in ancient history to thread together the history of ancient empires and the legend-makers. kings and generals such as Pharaoh Thutmoses II, King David of Israel,Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, Vercingetorix, Jul;Julius Caesar, Augustus and the Gothic kings Fritigern and Alaric.

Thy is enthralling sweep of the history of the rise and fall of nations and empires and the horrors of whole tribes, sometimes entire nations being wiped off the face of the earth leaving few traces for posterity.
Chapter 1 tells of the Battle of Megiddo in 1479 BC where the armies of Pharaoh Thutmosis of Egypt defeated the forces of the king of Kadesh , ruler of Syria and Canaan.
Chapter 2 recounts the the rise of King David and his unification of the tribes of Israel, his total defeat of Israel's enemies, including the Philistines, Moabites, Syrians and Amalekites. His capture of the city of Jerusalem from the Jebusites (who were absorbed into the Israelite nation). Jerusalem became the cornerstone from which David would forge the united kingdom of Israel into a great power.

Part 2 tells of the great struggle of Greece to keep the Persian Empire at bay. How at the battles of Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis, the Persian invaders were repulsed by the Greeks, the first battle cries of Europe were sounded, and western culture was safeguarded from the invading forces of the east.

Part 3 recounts the Empire building of Alexander the Great, through his bringing down of the mighty Persian Empire.
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