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Cannae: Hannibal's Greatest Victory [Paperback]

Adrian Goldsworthy
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: £14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

16 May 2007

On 2 August 216BC, Hannibal won his greatest victory in the plain north of the small, hilltop town of Cannae in southern Italy. By the end of the day his outnumbered mercenaries had enveloped and massacred the greater part of the largest army Rome had ever fielded, turning this into one of the bloodiest battles ever fought, rivalling even the industrialised slaughter of the twentieth century AD. For the Romans Cannae became the yardstick by which other defeats were measured, never surpassed and only once or twice equalled in the next six centuries. Cannae remains one of the most famous battles ever fought, frequently alluded to in modern military writing, and Hannibal¿s tactics are still taught in the military academies where today¿s officers are trained.

This volume is a brand new look at the battle, and explains clearly and concisely exactly how it was that Hannibal achieved his historic victory.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (16 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753822598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753822593
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 18.5 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 203,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Adrian Goldsworthy has a doctorate from Oxford University. His first book, THE ROMAN ARMY AT WAR was recognised by John Keegan as an exceptionally impressive work, original in treatment and impressive in style. He has gone on to write several other books, including THE FALL OF THE WEST, CAESAR, IN THE NAME OF ROME, CANNAE and ROMAN WARFARE, which have sold more than a quarter of a million copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages. A full-time author, he regularly contributes to TV documentaries on Roman themes.

Product Description

Book Description

A renowned historian's account of one of the most important and influential battles of Antiquity

About the Author

Adrian Goldsworthy has a doctorate from Oxford University. His first book, THE ROMAN ARMY AT WAR was recognised by John Keegan, the general Editor of The History of Warfare series, as an exceptionally impressive work, original in treatment and impressive in style. His other books include THE FALL OF CARTHAGE, and the volume on Roman Warfare in John Keegan's Cassell History of Warfare series.

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At the start of the third century BC the Republic of Carthage was the wealthiest and most powerful state in the Western Mediterranean. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not sure how many of Goldsworthy's texts I own now, but it's at least 7 or 8. He's one of the preeminent Roman scholars about, and usefully, he's very good at writing about the Romans too. I've had this book for about 3 years, but only got around to reading it now, because it's now that I am writing about the battle of Cannae in my series of novels about the Second Punic War.

The first 80 or so pages of the book fleshes out details of the history that led to this battle, and provides succinct accounts of the mid-Roman Republic, Carthage, and the armies of both civilisations. We're told about Hannibal and the Roman leaders he faced, the controversies surrounding the exact location of the battlefield, and then the juicy details of the battle. What I like about Goldsworthy is that where ever there is doubt about a detail or a moment in the battle, he says so, and then explains how and why he agrees or disagrees with it. Not all academics are this transparent, which leads to some readers making incorrect assumptions about what has been said.

There are plenty of good maps and diagrams of the battle, and a decent bibliography as well. In my opinion, this is an indispensable text for those who are interested in one of the bloodiest one day battles of all time. It's also very useful to have if wandering about the site of Canne della Battaglia, in Puglia, Italy, because it makes the site come alive. Five solid stars out of five.

Ben Kane, author of Hannibal: Enemy of Rome.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good study of a legendary battle 29 April 2005
By MarkK TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
As Adrian Goldsworthy states in the introduction to this book, reconstructing the battles of the ancient world is far more challenging than those of more recent times. The sources left to us of events are few and contradictory, often written to glorify particular individuals or illustrate key traits rather than to give precise details.
Faced with such obstacles, Goldsworthy has done an impressive job of reconstructing the battle of Cannae for the reader. Using the works of ancient authors and archaeological findings, he illuminates the details of a legendary clash of the ancient world, making educated inferences where the evidence fails him. More than just an account of the maneuvers of the day of the battle, Goldsworthy provides the background to the Second Punic War, descriptions of the two armies, and an explanation for why Hannibal's great victory on the battlefield did not lead to Carthage's triumph in their war against Rome. For anyone seeking to learn more about this epic battle and is context, this is the book to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read 9 May 2003
By Neilf
Format:Hardcover
If you are a student of military history then this is a very good read. It gives a good background on the political situation and the arms and techniques. It would be good to have a copy of Livy handy to get the spirit of the time too. A criticism is the sole focus on this one battle - Trebia and the other Roman defeats are mentioned but not in details. Also some more coverage of the naval aspect of the campaign wrt Hannibal supply problems would be good. Otherwise throughly recommended, especially the scientific approach to locating the battlefield site.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 28 Nov 2008
Format:Paperback
Goldsworthy is an excellent author and this book was added to the collection of his work. Like before it was thoroughly enjoyable, easy to access and understand and most informative. Quite a thin tome with large print it won't take you very long to finish. If you have read much of Goldsworthy's other work then you realise a longer book into the obvious areas not touched on here would be needless repitition.

For the price here you can't argue - a solid, informative book covering the battle and campaign of Cannae.
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