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Warlords of Republican Rome: Caesar Versus Pompey Hardcover – 16 Oct 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (16 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844158306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844158300
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 672,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Girth VINE VOICE on 21 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is published Pen & Sword who have built up a very credible catalogue of popular military history. They have the ability to find expert, opinionated PhD authors. I particularly enjoyed "Ceasar's Gallic Triumph Alesia 52bc" by Peter Inker and "The Defeat of Rome, Crassus, Carrhae & the Invasion of the East by" Gareth Sampson. These are essentially a detailed analysis of a battle, set in a wider historical context. While accessible they benefit from reasonable background knowledge.

Dr Fields' book is significantly different. He has written a basic Roman history having cherry picked what is arguably the most interesting period of ideology and civil war. It deals with the two great Generals (and politicians) but they are well-documented elsewhere and nothing original is on offer in 200 pages. This book works best as an orientation for those unfamiliar with Caesar and Pompey or little knowledge of ancient Rome. That's no bad thing, even the greatest expert had to start somewhere. If, as an example, you enjoyed the first series of the HBO drama Rome and wanted to find out more this would be ideal.

The aurthor is a former soldier and his style is much like an intelligence briefing, straight to the point. Fields' mission is to explain, starting with chronologies and maps. He then deals with the mechanics of war, weapons and tactics (sword and spear), politics, career ladder, Marius, Sulla, Mithradates, sketches of Pompey and Caesar. It is only in Chapter 7 where the two protagonists meet. There are numerous insets detailing battles, a summary of Ceasar's Gallic Wars, the Triumph and so on.

What Dr Fields has done is to write an enthusiastic account of Rome at the end of the Republic; it is simple but not simplistic. It is a book you can dip into and if there were a `facts to words ratio` this would get a high score but equally he provides a flavour of the times. It might be one of your first books on Rome but probably not the last.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Suited for someone who NEVER read a book on Rome before. 12 Sept. 2010
By lordhoot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am not really sure what was the purpose behind writing and publishing a book like this unless the author was aiming at a group of history reading population who never read a book on the Roman military before. Despite of the title of this book, there is very little written about Roman Civil War between Caesar and Pompey. Their struggle is detailed in about 30 pages of the book's 185 or so pages. That is pretty paltry amount and what you read won't add a penny to your knowledge of this conflict if you are already familiar with the subject matter. (You will get more information if you watch HBO's Rome series!!)

Instead, what you get is very superficial, somewhat generic basic account of the background information of the Roman army, of the past civil wars where names like Gaius Marcus or Sulla dominate the pages before we finally get the short biographical sketches of Pompey and Caesar. Then finally, we get to the subject of the conflict between them. Nothing written is new to anyone who is familiar with these subjects. So basically, instead a getting a book about the Roman Civil War between Pompey and Caesar, in this book, we got a very generic military history book on the Roman Republic during its last 100 years of existence. The book could have made a better introductory tome if it went further on until Augustus took power and ended the civil wars era of Rome for the next 200 years (outside of that one year, 69 AD being the exception).

Only use I can think of for this book is if you want to buy it for your kid to get him/her interested in ancient history or donate it to your local high school for tax write off. (If I sounded bit harsh in this review, it basically because I was put off by the misleading title. To me, that is fraudulent advertising of false hype and premise of the book. I blame this more on the publisher then the author.)
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