This is a standard biography of the Cartaginian military leader Hannibal, which is now (summer 2000)out of print, I believe. The writing is fine, and the story line (if one can use that term for a non-fiction book) is interesting: despite an (apparently) unending series of tactical and operational successes, Hannibal loses the war against Rome, due primarily to strategic considerations outside of his control (i.e., Carthage should never have taken on this war unless they had changed their approach substantially). There are lessons here for modern man (sometimes, despite having the smartest generals, the best trained and most experienced troops, cutting-edge military technology, the wealthiest society in the known world supporting you, and pretty good luck (to boot), it's just not enough) -- well, I could go on here for a long time, but will refrain from doing so.
Although perfectly enjoyable, the book suffers from 2 major shortcomings; one unavoidable, but the second easily addressed, but evidently addressing it wasn't worth the time and effort of the author and/or publisher:
1. The sources on Hannibal's life are Roman (only). There simply are no other sources of information. The author recognizes this explicitly, and tries to balance the Roman accounts with "common sense" interpretations and a modern understanding of the situation.
2. The absence of sufficient maps: This is just inexcusable (unfortunately, it is very common in modern books of this sort). Repeatedly throughout the book, the author uses phrases such as "Hannibal marched to (this town), then to (that town), while the Romans marched to (someplace else)". These towns generally don't appear in modern atlases, and there is no further description in the book (is it on the coast? in the mountains? north? south" east? west?). Without any additional guidance, this is simply useless information. One is tempted to believe that the author has read this information in source materials, but never bothered to discover what it actually meant (could this be true? Nah). It's more likely that the publisher was unwilling to spring for a couple of pennies per book to provide the maps (or that the author couldn't be bothered to spend the couple of weeks necessary to get them included). In any case, it's a shame, and detracts from an otherwise excellent book.