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Julius Caesar (Command) Paperback – 10 Jun 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (10 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846039282
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846039287
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 0.8 x 24.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 692,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Field gets to the point in highlighting the attributes that marked Caesar out as the talented general he was in ways other longer volumes often do not - and that, if anything, justifies this book having a place on a history buff's of wargamer's bookshelf --Ancient Warfare Magazine

About the Author

Dr Nic Fields started his career as a biochemist before joining the Royal Marines. Having left the military, he went back to University and completed a BA and PhD in Ancient History at the University of Newcastle. He was Assistant Director at the British School at Athens, Greece, and then a lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh. Nic is now a freelance author and researcher based in southwest France.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is a very short and very basic introduction to Julius Caesar the general and commander of Legions, rather than Julius Caesar the politician, orator and lover. It follows Caesar's early career, including his run in with the Pirates, to the battles that made his name and sealed his reputation as one of the greatest generals of all time during the Gallic and Civil Wars.

The author, Dr. Nic Fields, also attempts to delve into Caesar's mind and attempt to build a picture of his abilities as a commander. Some of Caesar's key battles are discussed in the text, such as the siege of Alesia and the battles of Pharsalus, Munda and Thapsus. There's also a brief analysis of Caesar's opponnents such as the Gallic leader Vercingetroix, and his famous Roman opponent and one time ally, Pompey.

The text by Fields is simple and easy to read, while there's quite a few photographs scattered across the book showing statues, coins and locations. The highlight of the book for me was the wonderful colour plates by the artist Peter Dennis. These are atmospheric and well done, but unfortunately there's only three of them included in this book. Overall a good if very basic look at Julius Caesar. If you want something a bit more in-depth it might be worth looking out for biographies by other historians such as Goldsworthy, or perhaps Caesar's own writings.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A great introduction 27 Aug. 2010
By R. Zoellner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When Roman crowds tried to hail Julius Caesar as rex, or king in Latin, he is said to have replied, "No, I am Caesar, not King." Today, Caesar has become synonymous with the title of Emperor, the rank above king. It is because of him, however, that words like czar and Kaiser have entered the languages of Europe as translations of emperor, rather than just one of this man's names. In his work on Julius Caesar, Nic Fields talks about what made this man so great for all time. Like the last book I read in this command series, this is a very nicely made book, with heavy glossy paper, and a plethora of illustrations and other pictures.

For all its brevity, this is a pretty scholarly work on Caesar, on an introductory level. It has maps and diagrams of battle formations, photos of key sites as they are today, along with famous artistic representations of the man. Fields does not have room to present an exhaustive account of Caesar's life, but he touches on most of the key events and pieces of information known. It leaves the reader wanting to know more, and is written in a fairly readable manner. The book doesn't quite present events in chronological order, however, in terms of the arrangement of facts and events.

I found it particularly interesting that people still make pilgrimages to the remains of his temple--and there was a picture of flowers left at the site to back up the statement. Generally, I would recommend this book to all ages of readers, or even for use in a classroom. People need to know at least something about Caesar, given the way he has impacted western cultures. Besides, this book is a quick and easy read, not one of those ponderous volumes that put people off history.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Good brief tale of Julius Caesar 9 Oct. 2010
By Steven A. Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After having read lengthy biographies of Caesar, this is a bit underpowered. However, for those who want a brief overview of Julius Caesar, especially his military leadership, this will suffice.

This is part of the Osprey series, "Leadership, Strategy, Conflict." The book begins with Caesar's youth, noting that he came from a noble Roman family line. He was ambitious as he grew up, and aimed to make those ambitions come to reality. He served as a Chief Priest; he was assigned a posting as Consul. However, he and two other renowned Romans felt themselves snubbed. A triumvirate emerged--Caesar, the successful military commander Pompey, and the wealthy and successful commander (the one who ended Spartacus' revolt), Crassus. As a result of their alliance, Caesar was assigned a position as military commander of Gaul.

Thereafter, he used his Roman legions to subdue the Gauls. He also triumphed in Spain, in Egypt (where he met Cleopatra and became infatuated with her), and in Asia (although the book pretty much ignores the campaign in which he uttered the term: "I came, I saw, I Conquered."). The book describes his falling out with Pompey, his defeat of Pompey's forces at Pharsalus.

And, of course, the denouement on the Ides of March, when he met his fate.

The book does a decent job of describing his role as a leader. Good maps appear as well as photos and drawings. All in all, a solid piece of work, accessible to those who only desire a brief survey of Caesar's life and times.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Succinct but Decent Introduction to Caesar’s Military Career and “Style” of Command 22 Dec. 2013
By Yoda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Any review of this book would have to start off by mentioning that it is part of the Osprey “Command” series and that this entails certain limitations. One is the shortness of the book. It is only 64 pages long, a third or so consisting of illustrations of one type or another. Hence if one is looking for an in-depth tome on Caesar one would be sadly disappointed. These books, due to their very short lengths, can only serve as an introduction. In addition, the emphasis in the Osprey series is primarily on the military histories of their subjects, not political (or other). Hence relevant question is, how well does this particular volume succinctly discuss and analyze Caesar’s military careers and tactics? The answer is fairly well.

With respect to a military biography the book definitely succeeds at providing a decent introduction to the military career of Caesar. The book also provides a brief one page description of Caesar’s main battles . Hence the book succeeds, like most of the Osprey Command series, in providing a decent short introduction to Caesar. Three stars for this. The difficult part though, where many of the Osprey Command volumes fail though, is an analysis and discussion of Caesar’s command “style”. What distinguished Caesar, in terms of military command style, from other leaders, in particular his contemporaries? The book does a decent introduction here but is not a five star. As stated previously, the book provides a short overview of Caesar’s 4 main battles but, unfortunately, there is no nexus in the battles between how they were fought and what Caesar’s particular command “style” was. Only in a separate section does the author, Dr. Fields, discuss Caesar’s particular command characteristics. Ideally, this discussion should have been integrated into the exposition on the battles. Hence this book is not worthy of a five star rating. However, the book does cover his main characteristics well and the reader does learn what they are (i.e., rarely fighting from the front, usually cautious in deciding when to fight, being open to what lower ranks had to say, etc.). Thus the book rates a four star.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Caesar the Leader 21 Mar. 2011
By Anibal Madeira - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dr. Fields is an expert in Roman warfare that I really respect and thorougly enjoy reading his books. In this work he gives an introduction on Caesar, his life, political achievements, the dissertation about Caesar wanting or not to be Rex, classification of Caesar's characteristics of leadership using Keegan's method (prescription, kinship, sanctions, imperative of action, battle presence) that should be used in all books of this series, some battles are described like Sabis/sambre, Alesia, Pharsalus, Thapsus and Munda, and Caesar's main antagonists (Vercingetorix and pompey) have a short section.

The premises of this series are "Leadership, Strategy, Conflict", so if you are searching for a Biography of Julius Caesar this isn't your book. Try Adrian Goldsworthy "Caesar - Life of a Colossus", it's an excellent book. It would be impossible in a c. 60 page book to give a decent biography of Caesar, so Dr. Fields shouldn't had tried to do it IMHO. He gave a short description of Caesar's political evolution, his government, the controversies between his divine status, kingship vs dictatorship, etc. Obviously if Fields had 200+ pages to digress he would had made a great job - but he had 60! And he used almost a quarter of the book that should be used in the "Leadership, Strategy, Conflict" parts of Julius Caesar career. Many campaigns aren't almost mentioned, the battles should have more information, etc. With a good chronological chart the author could had saved 12 - 15 pages and focused on the military aspect (the purpose of this series).

I also believe that the author is mistaken on the meaning circumvallation and contravallation. I'm pretty sure that circumvallation faces the enemy fortification and contravalation it's an outer ring made to protect the besiegers against relieve attempts.

On the bright side this is an excellent place to start reading about Caesar, you also get good art by Peter Dennis (although he can do better), very good pictures, great information on Caesar's capabilities as leader (with lots of examples taken from different sources). Recommended.
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