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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 14 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 15 reviews
on April 15, 2015
This is more like 4.5 stars but I'll round up since Amazon won't let me give half-stars.

Wow, I'm not sure what to say. I am by no means an expert on military history or strategy. I got this while looking for a biography of Hannibal. This book is that but so much more. There is so much interesting information packed into this not-too-long book.

As for the biography, there is an understandable amount of missing information as we simply don't know much about Hannibal aside from his invasion of Rome. However, author provides a lot of information and educated guesses regarding Hannibal's early and later life. The author has a decent writing style that isn't textbook-dry and kept my interest up.

Perhaps the most interesting part for me was the authors description of the Carthaginian armies and the Roman armies and how wars were fought in the ancient world. As someone fairly ignorant of military strategy, I found this to be illuminating. The section on army logistics and how ancient armies had to be supported in the field was a huge eye-opener... something you definitely don't see in the movies. That's one thing I really enjoyed about this book. In addition to describing Hannibal's exploits, Mr. Gabriel spends the beginning chapters discussing army composition, weapons, infantry and logistics. This helps pave the way for his explanations for why Hannibal did this or that. I began to understand a bit why certain decisions are made, why Hannibal lost, why armies did what they did in the ancient world.

As much as I enjoyed reading this book, I did have a minor nitpick, the only reason I would have given it a 4.5/5 if I could. At certain points the authors uses what I presume to be military terms like "arm of decision" without actually explaining what they mean. Despite these fairly few oversights, I didn't find the book hard to read. Granted I had to read a bit slower than I usually read, especially when I'm reading fiction, but it wasn't that bad and I felt I understood a bit what the author was saying and I say this as someone who has never studied military history or strategy.
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on February 10, 2015
Good book by Professor Gabriel on Hannibal, who won all his battles (except the next to last, Zama, and his last as a navel commander for King Prusias of Bithynia- Hannibal was a field commander, not a navel commander) and lost the war with Rome. Why does the adage "He who wins the battles, wins the war," not work for Hannibal in the Carthaginians Second Punic War against Rome?

On page 218: "Hannibal failed because his operational victories did not achieve his strategic objectives. After Cannae, the strategic ground shifted beneath his feet, reducing a man who had once been the king of the battlefield to little more than a sacrificial pawn in a much larger game that he never really understood."

Also important is a footnote to Chapter 9. "Why Hannibal Failed," from the text page 212, footnote 2 (on page 248 in the text):
"My old friend and colleague the late Col. Harry Summers used to tell the story of his assignment to the negotiations in Hanoi between the North Vietnamese and the Americans in an effort to end the war. In a conversation with a North Vietnamese colonel, Summers remarked, 'Well, whatever the outcome, you never defeated us on the battlefield.' The North Vietnamese colonel smiled and said, 'That is true. But it is also irrelevant!'"

And so it was with Hannibal against the Romans, until the end at Zama and Scipio Africanus.

For general interest: "O2S4 MEC:"
Objective (Simplicity);
Offensive, Sprit of;
Superiority at Point of Contact (Economy of Force);
Surprise (Security);
Security (Surprise);
Simplicity (Objective);
Movement (Mobility);
Economy of Force (Superiority at Point of Contact);
Cooperation (Unity of Command)
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on May 7, 2016
This is a well written book and most enjoyable. I was somewhat disappointed that it was not more of a traditional biography but it does not claim to be or aim to be so read as a military adventure story, it is well worth it and I guarantee most readers know very little of Hannibal's real life and the amazing things he accomplished in a 20+ year war against the rising Roman Empire.
Read it. Every student of military history will certainly not be disappointed.
L. S. Miller is the author of four novels published to date with several more coming soon. Reviews of his work are posted on Kirkus and the novels are available from Amazon Books. His first novel, A Death in Our Family, won a Pinnacle Award for unique fiction.
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on March 12, 2015
Not strictly a biography from start to finish. Plenty of analysis and background information. Not just the what, but the how and why. And that's what being a historian is all about. The nature of both societies and armies, how they functioned, how they provisioned, how they marched, what weapons, what tactics, and so on. After reading this book I could tell anyone exactly why the outcome turned out the way it did
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on December 25, 2016
It is a great book. Bought for a book review in a history class. Great book, well written. I love it.
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on May 20, 2016
This is a comprehensive guide to Hannibal's epic journey to Rome, and eventual escape from there. Historical accounts are only available from Romans about the General, and as much contempt as he was able to garner against himself, the man is still a legend.
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on February 28, 2017
I'm really happy with my book.
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on November 30, 2015
This really breaks down, insofar as we can 2500 years later, what it would have been like in Hannibal's world. I appreciate the effort it takes to plausibly reconstruct 3rd century BC military doctrine, as well as the Carthaginian applications thereof.
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on October 14, 2016
When we read books we don’t read to memorize we read to learn, a book of hundreds of pages can lead to broaden our knowledge about a certain historical event, war, occupation, etc. or it can lead to learn a specific lesson.
From this book, the lesson to learn, and the author is to thank for this as he kept repeating it, do not roam in your life endlessly even when you are wining, you are actually losing when you have no final strategy in mind!
We here, look at Hannibal and learn, how he won battle after battle for years and destroyed one Roman army after the other, yet in the end, he lost the war, why?
The answer is very simple, he had no strategy in mind!
In our lives we need to define our strategy before we go down to tactics!
Another important lesson to learn from this book is to cut the snakes head! Despite destroying six Roman armies, and conquering lands all over the Italian peninsula, he never attached Rome when should have. The center of power was never touched and the Romans were always able to replace what was destroyed and be victorious in the end!
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on January 6, 2017
He loves the book
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