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Top Customer Reviews
On the whole I find this book detailed but poorly organized. The author manages to tease a surprising amount of info from the brief accounts of the invasion by contemporary Roman writer like Cassius Dio, Tacitus and Suetonius, and piece together a convincing thread of events and the places where the military campaigns most-likely occurred. But the book often jumps about from subject to subject and different timeframes, in once section initially talking about an impending battle, then discussing events which led much later to the Boudiccan revolt, then talking about how the courses of various rivers have changed since the 1st century AD. All very interesting, but the leaps make it hard to piece together a coherent narrative of events as they unfolded.
Other than the maps of battle, the illustrations in the book appear willy-nilly, with a lot of pictures of men in re-enactments of Roman military dress. For example, a section devoted to talking about the topography of Colchester is accompanied by a picture of "a detachment of XX Legion", where a survey map of Colchester would have been more relevant.
The book does contain a number of interesting bits of information. One is the logistics of the invasion almost certainly means that extensive preparations must have been made during the reign of Claudius predecessor, Gaius Caligula.Read more ›
The account starts with a chapter on Julius Caesar's expeditions to Britain in 54-55 BC, which gave the Romans their first direct experience of that island. However the bulk of the book concerns the invasion of 43 AD and Peddie addresses this in six chapters, from the initial landings in Kent to the capture of Caratacus, the British rebel chieftain in 51 AD. Although later rebellions in 61-70 AD are mentioned they are not detailed. I was dissappointed by the lack of an aftermath chapter that covered the following decades of Roman expansion in Britain.
Using the fragmentary information available, the author attempts to re-construct the Roman order of battle and he uses contemporary logistic information to support his claims. A chapter on the Roman army and its logistics and a further appendix on Roman logistical matters are quite interesting. There are a number of sketch maps used to depict the possible flow of the campaign, but few overall campaign maps. The author has written with British audiences in mind and American readers will find it difficult to identify many of the small terrain features in the Kentish and Essex countryside that the author uses as references. Better maps and diagrams to show alternative Roman courses of action would add greatly to this account.
The author also uses photos of modern-day Roman re-enactors and terrain views to support the text.Read more ›