This book takes a very different approach to dealing with the historical figure of Boudica and the rebellion she led in 60/1 AD. For this reader it was, in the end, a little disappointing - perhaps because this was a departure from the type of work Professor Aldhouse-Green has published hitherto. It is a little clumsily handled as she fails to notice sufficiently clearly how the balance of contextualising Boudica in various structures of the Graeco-Roman and Gallic worlds overshadows the emergence of a sustained focus on her principal subject. It takes half the book for us to be brought to Boudica the person and then, rather quickly, she disapperars back into that wider context - as elusive on Aldhouse-Green's pages as the warrior has often been in popular history. To deny Aldhouse-Green admiration for her scholrarship is churlish, but - as another reviewer pointed out - her lapses into references creating journalists' copy from the first decade of the 21st century and the parallels drawn to modern wars appears to be the result of poor editing by her publisher, so quickly do they become weary and easy to overlook (depite the claims from some of the blurb on the cover). This is the wrong sort of polemic.
This is not a book for anyone new to this period or the Boudican rebellion. It is not an account of Boudica's life, full of fresh or fascinating material, nor is it a compelling narrative - both misleading claims of same cover blurb. It is, however, a highly sophisticated re-positioning of Boudica into a world that we still know relatively little about - the British tribal society from which this Icenian warrior emerged to threaten the stability of Roman power in Britain, its warrior leaders, priests (rather than clegy), merchants, farmers and craftsmen. The book is much stronger on the Roman background to the key events and context of the rebellion, perhaps inevitably, but if a second edition is ever to be considered some of the threads in the text might benefit from tighter control, and the overview to which Professor Aldhouse-Green works should become more disciplined in the presentation of what her publisher intended.