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The Complete Roman Army (The Complete Series) Paperback – September 30, 2011
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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“If you or someone you love has an interest in Rome, ancient history, or military history, this would make an excellent gift come Christmas.”
- Portland Book Review
About the Author
Adrian Goldsworthy is an English historian whose publications include The Roman Army at War: 100 BC-AD 200, The Complete Roman Army, Roman Warfare, The Punic Wars, and Cannae.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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Everyone interested in the Roman Army must own and read this book.
However, I am still looking for something more...maybe a bit different....... which takes nothing away from the brilliance of this book.
As a challenge to authors, the one subject that intrigues me after reading so many books on Roman history, has to do with the soldiers who made up the legions, in particular the soldiers who served during the time of Julius Caesar when there were no permanent garrisons..when daily life for 16 years consisted of hand to hand combat with sword and pilum or travelling great distances by foot and life was in a tent. i.e. what sort of people were these? What were the centurion like to organize, lead and motivate these troops ? How exactly did they win in combat ? How did troop formations change so quickly during battle ...we know that they did but exactly how was this possible given the nature of the combat at hand? Many battles lasted for many hours, some for days, where initial formations could not have been sustained...what happened then? In such difficult and lengthy battles was it a role of the reserve to reestablish the formation or did centurions take over with success dependent upon individual initiatives at the "squad, platoon and company" level as is taught in the American Army today.
and how did the personal charisma of the great Roman leaders such as Julius and Germanicus personally affect these troops? Clearly the famous disasters of the Roman Army are linked to disastrous and less famous leaders. But to me the real mystery of the Roman Army is how the elements of military leadership, discipline, motivation and technology all somehow came together to produce results, both good and bad, across the span of Republic and Empire with my special interest in Julius Caesar who must have been one of the most remarkable and effective military leaders in all of human history. In repeated examples his mere presence changed the behavior of thousands of troops....what kind of man was this ? How did such leaders view themselves and how did they view others ?
(By the way, Goldsworthy takes on the subject of Julius Caesar in another wonderful book that he wrote "Caesar" which I also highly recommend.)
So I am still looking not for the chronology or facts of history but rather more about the people who actually produced the results that we read about.
Lots of glossy photos of monuments, relics, and re-enactors. The latter are the most humorous part of the book. Americans look at our Civil War re-enactors and get a chuckle - going back 1800 years to Roman times looks like an excuse for men wearing skirts and metal helmets in public.
This is a serious work, one that ought to be on the shelf of every Hollywood movie writer and director, at least!
The book gives a pretty complete coverage of this army. The information given is clear and written with clarity. There's enough to provide the needed information and no more. It refreshing that there is no overkill of information that will only result in clutter for a book like this. The balance of the information given is just right. The book comes loaded with well drawn illustrations, nice photos, maps and diagrams that gives a clear and understandable images to accompanied the text. As one previous reviewer wrote, it truly is one of the best single volume reference book on the Roman legions during its heydays.
And that is what this book is, a reference guide to the Roman legions. Anyone seeking a quick answer to any questions on the Roman legions, this is the book to touch on. I have loan out this book to people who are not historically minded but like to read Roman historical fictions like Simon Scarrow's Cato/Macros series for example. For readers of such series, this book is almost tailor made for them.
On the down side, this book is pretty expensive for a casual reader to buy and it doesn't go into much detail during the decline of Rome. But I don't think that was the real intent of the author.
Overall, an excellent effort by Adrian Goldworthy who wrote a really accessible reference book on the Roman legions during its heydays and make it interesting and informative enough that even veteran readers like myself or a novice who is only interested in fictional history, can both enjoy this book.
Goldsworthy is a true expert, and moreover, his book is graced with illuminating illustrations. If you want the best there is on the subject, go with Goldsworthy.
Most recent customer reviews
Highly recommended for fans of Roman history.