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Boudica's Last Stand: Britain's Revolt Against Rome AD 6061 Paperback – February 1, 2011
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About the Author
John Waite is a historical consultant to the heritage industries specialising in Roman Britain. He has written a number of other books on the Roman army and occupation of Britain.
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But, being a Roman reenactor, I would have loved to be at this Life or death battle. The author's description of the battle was right on. I can only imagine the sight of thousands of dead Britons on the battle field. Recommend to any one interested in this period of Roman/Britian history.
Each place relevant to this revolt is shown in context and with information regarding their past history and importance in the campaign; each troop movement is shown the most plausible reason and course; each leader’s decisions, from Boudica’s, Cerialis, Paulinus and even Poenius Postumus, are interpreted. This war was a true duel between master strategists, each trying to outwit the other in ingenious ways, abandoning expendable resources, attacking vital areas, etc.
The author is aware that many of his interpretations are just that…interpretations; but they are truly damm good interpretations, logical and respecting the sources (both archeological, written and epigraphic).
The most important issue for the author is clearly the location of the final battle site, usually being considered Mancetter the most probable spot. The author presents his case for High Cross competently. Obviously, unless there are new archeological discoveries regarding the site, we will never know for sure (but neither Tacitus nor Cassius Dio mentioned a river in the battle site…and river Anker clearly crosses the fields of Mancetter in the Webster proposed site of the battle which would be a real pain to cross for Paulinus legionaries).
The only remark for future improvement that I make is regarding the issue of sustaining a huge horde provisioned without long previous arrangements (impossible due to the divisions between tribes, very high taxation, the depredations of the Imperial Procurator Decianus and the policing of Roman authorities). Boudica really needed to end the matter quickly, before her army dispersed in search of supplies (it also helps to explain the attack on the emporium of Londinium).
This book also include useful appendixes explaining the black and white plates which are nice (remember that the author isn’t a professional illustrator) and meticulously researched regarding the equipment illustrated. The plates show a: Centurion; Legionary; Auxiliary Infantryman; Auxiliary Cavalryman; Icenian Noble, British War Chariot; Tribal Champion; The Vexillation Fortress at Mancetter. In a future edition it might be interesting for the author to provide a plate with a “regular” Breton warrior (or several; the casual reader might receive a wrong visual idea about the Breton army although it is well explained in the text how it was divided and equipped…but in the illustrations you only get the “exceptions” – the champions, the nobles and the chariots – not the usual Breton warrior).
Other appendixes include the organization of the Roman Army; table of estimated distances between key locations, with marching times; Bibliography; Places of Interest with their contacts and websites; photos, maps and a representation of the 4 main phases of the battle.