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The Great Commanders of the Ancient World 1479BC - 453AD

The Great Commanders of the Ancient World 1479BC - 453AD

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Andrew Roberts

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  • Publisher: Quercus Publishing Plc
  • Format: Paperback | 432 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 198mm x 26mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 29 September 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0857381954
  • ISBN 13: 9780857381958
  • Sales rank: 43,194

Product description

Which was the most brilliant of Hannibal's three crushing defeats of Roman armies? What tactics did Julius Caesar employ to defeat Pompey at Pharsalus? How was Alexander the Great able to command sufficient loyalty from his troops to lead them across half of the Asian landmass in search of new territories to conquer? The answers to these and a myriad other fascinating questions can be found in Great Commanders of the Ancient World, a sumptuous chronological survey of the 50 greatest commanders of the ancient world. Compiled by an distinguished team of historians (including such names as Robin Lane Fox, Tom Holland and John Julius Norwich) working under the general editorship of Andrew Roberts, Great Commanders of the Ancient World is an authoritative and beautifully illustrated account of the lives and careers of the 25 greatest military commanders of the period, from Julius Caesar to Judas Maccabeus, from Sun Tzu to Scipio Africanus, and from Thucydides to Trajan. Every commander is profiled in a concise and informative 3000-word article which not only brings its subject vividly to life via a lively, fact-driven narrative, but also analyses and assesses his tactical and strategic gifts. As accessible and informative as it is rigorous and scholarly, Great Commanders of the Ancient World is the perfect introduction to its subject for the layperson - but also a stimulating and thought-provoking read for those with greater knowledge of military history. With its companion volumes, focusing on the great commanders of the medieval, early modern and modern eras, it forms an indispensable guide to the greatest generals the world has seen.

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Author information

Andrew Roberts is an eminent historian and writer. His authorial credits include the bestselling A History of English-speaking Peoples since 1900; Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Gamble and Eminent Churchillians.

Customer reviews

By Roger J-C Sabourin 03 Dec 2013 4

This, the first in a series of four books, is an anthology of short essays by various historians on 25 of the most important military leaders from the earliest days of recorded history up to the latter days of the Western Roman Empire.

If you are planning to game Kadesh or Gaugamela, this is not the book you want to consult: these are biographical sketches, not battle reports, and the texts – averaging fifteen pages or so – are necessarily more introductory than anything else. There are no footnotes, either, although the book does include an appealing list of suggestions for further reading.

But the average reader will certainly find much to enjoy in this anthology: most of the chapters are almost conversational in style, making for an informative yet pleasurable light read which will, hopefully, motivate readers to dig deeper into the lives of those subjects they found most interesting.

And the wide range of personalities covered in this book – and, from what I can tell, its three companion volumes – ensures that even the most knowledgeable military historian is bound to learn something new.

The one detail I should point out is the fact that the book’s “Full description” section seems to confuse it with, perhaps, some previous hardback edition: this is actually a paperback printed on average quality paper, and it is certainly neither “sumptuous” nor “beautifully illustrated”. A minor issue, to be sure, but I thought it should be pointed out.

My original thought was to purchase only this volume, but I’ve decided to add the rest of the collection to my list of future purchases. While this is not a book that will suit everybody’s tastes or requirements, I’m certain most people who are sufficiently interested in the subject matter to actually bother to read this and other reviews will also find it enjoyable.

Table of contents

Thutmose III. Ramesses II. Joshua Bin Nun. King David. Tiglath-Pilesser III. Sun Tzu. Cyrus the Great. Leonidas. Themistocles. Thucydides. Alcibiades. Xenophon. Philip II of Macedon. Alexander the Great. Hannibal. Scipio Africanus. Judah Maccabeus. Pompey. Julius Caesar. Arminius. Trajan. Zhuge Liang. Alaric I. Aetius. Attila. Further reading. Index.