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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent narrative on Ancient war and politics
Adrian Goldsworthy has combined ancient sources and modern interpretations to give us a breathtaking account of the three wars which raged between Rome and its Mediterranean rival, Carthage over the course of a century. One of his strengths is his ability to describe the complex logistics and manoeuvres of the significant battles of this era. He also gives perceptive...
Published on 3 Jan. 2007 by Hugh Claffey

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars there go the elephants...
I recently read the Leonard Cottrell book, and wanted a slightly more scholarly treatment of the Punic Wars. This isn't it. It's essentially just another reworking of the ancient historians, mainly Polybius. True, in the absence of corroborating evidence Goldsworthy occasionally reminds us to take some of their assertions with a pinch of salt; but he doesn't have any...
Published 18 months ago by gille liath


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5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing read, expertly written., 31 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
Adrian Goldsworthy is, for me, the best writer on the subject of Ancient Rome. His depth of knowledge on the subject combined with his conversational accessible style brings to life the Ancient World. He is expert in setting the people and events in context and giving you an understanding of how and why things happened but also leaves space for you to question events especially where information is hard to come by.
Rome's conflict with Carthage is an era of Roman history that I find fascinating and "The Fall of Carthage" by Adrian Goldsworthy clearly explains the background and build up to the conflict and the world view of the rival factions as well as the battles and wars.
"Cannae" also by Adrian Goldsworthy is an excellent companion to this book going into even more detail about Hannibal's famous victory over Rome.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed account of a long, ultimately vicious conflict, 20 July 2009
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This review is from: The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
The evolution of an ultimately vicious conflict between two city states who seem to have had a few things on common, in terms of constitution at least. The author is a 'conventional historian', but that's also a compliment, and writes smoothly and readably and in many cases provides insight as to why military commanders made particular mistakes and surprising decisions, for example as to why Hannibal did not sack Rome after Cannae. The book is reasonably informative about the Carthaginians themselves but rather less so about Hannibal himself. If the book has an empty space it could be that. Couldn't we speculate a bit more about the Barca family, their hold on Spain, the extent to which they had a Hellenistic view of life given the two Greek historians who went with Hannibal to Italy?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fall of Carthage, 23 July 2013
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Russ G. Mills - See all my reviews
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Another classic by Adrian Goldsworthy, well researched and a very good read for all enthusiasts of ancient history, specially the methodical Roman way of doing things and coming up trumps.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost The Definitive Work, 1 April 2010
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This review is from: The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
Almost, but not quite is how I would describe this Adrian Goldsworthy history of the three Punic Wars. Saying that, you won't get better at the moment.

The fact that at the time the wars started Carthage was actually far more powerful than Rome is something to think about. The sorry fact is that because Rome destroyed the city at the end of the Third Punic War means that any history of Carthage will always be very one sided. Even today we can get first hand accounts of the German or Japanese perspective in the Second World War, but Rome wiped Carthage off the map.

The three wars are covered elaborately, and you walk away feeling you have been well educated. For a similar 'lesson' get Goldsworthy's book on Julius C - excellent.

He also uses several historical sources to get a better idea of what did happen, as obviously because the Romans won so overwhelming there is a lot of 'propaganda' showing the Romans in a better light, and Goldsworthy leads us through this. Did they 'salt' the earth after razing the city? Well, it's doubtful they actually razed the city RIGHT to the ground in the first place.

For me this only feels short of five stars in two areas.

The first in during the descriptions of the Second Punic War he splits the war into Land and Sea campaigns, so you read about the naval battles first THEN the land battles in a seperate section. It may have seemed easier but to the reader this can mean thumbing back to the naval section when a casual reference is made to a sea battle during the land war chapters. I'd have just preferred going in order from one to the other.

The only other issue is that in this book he just seems to have trimmed the 'niggly' details. Let's face it, some of the atrocious things and the shocking moments are what keep us coming back to history, but in this book Goldsworthy just seems to have left things out or described in a short sentence something that might have needed some elaboration.

It is the book that I will judge any history of the Punic Wars by, but I felt at the end of it that it could have offered that little more.

I still would not hesitate to buy it again, though. Excellent stuff again Mr G!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best book about the Punic wars, 6 Jun. 2009
This review is from: The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
Saying that this is the best book on the subject is quite assumptive, seeing as I haven't read any other book regarding the Punic wars, but the book was just so entertaining and well written, that I can't imagine there being a superior one out there.

Adrian Goldsworty is the perfect balance between an author and a scholar, which is a balance that makes for educated and researched history, presented in a well written and interesting fashion. I've already ordered two more books from him and I'm eagerly looking forward to them.

The large scale of the three wars and the fragmented sources makes it a hard subject to tackle, but even harder to present it in a cohesive and entertaining way. Instead of presenting all the facts in a chronological order he divides the wars into categories, like in the first war is divided into, land battles and navy battles, and the second war into Italy, Spain, Africa and Greece\Macedonia. This is a great way to present the story and makes it easy to follow regardless of the multitude of battles going on simultaneously all over the Mediterranean.

As all good historians he is critical of his sources and doesn't assume to be sure about anything in this ca. 2300 year old war. If there's a dubious story from any of the sources he'll point it out and where there's lack of any good sources he informs you that this section is only conjecture on his part. He never tries to rewrite history or distort facts to tell his own story, you'll receive an objective and faithful presentation throughout the book.

Highly recommended to anyone interested in Roman history or ancient warfare in general.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 3 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
I have a very happy chappy, who enjoyed reading this book whilst i enjoyed the beach holiday...no moans no groans of boredom..
Thank you seller for prompt delivery..
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest detail, 28 Dec. 2012
This review is from: The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
I would like to review two books, Richard Miles' Carthage Must Be Destroyed and Adrian Goldsworthy's The Fall of Carthage. Miles' book is an overview of the wars between Rome and Carthage, Goldsworthy's is far more detailed (for example, I learned, for the first time, that a trireme can do 8 knots, pretty speedy when I consider that my sailboat can only go 5). Luckily I read Miles first, which prepared the way for Goldsworthy. The history of these two nations is the continuing story of man's boundless inhumanity to man. Both countries practiced human sacrifice at one time or another, and during one siege Roman throats were slit from atop the walls of a Carthaginian town, in front of their troops, so that the citizens knew they would have no choice but to fight to the end. I was amazed to learn that Hannibal spent 15 years in Italy (15!) and that elephants were less valuable than one would think, as they tended, when wounded, to turn and run, trampling their own troops as they did so. The Romans needed continuous war in order for the spoils to keep the city afloat; the Carthaginians formed a merchant nation. The Romans were totally unbending; the Carthaginians unscrupulous. My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and entertaining., 6 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
Fantastic book, very informative but also accessible. The best thing about Goldsworthy is how he is very knowledgeable in his subject without being overly academic also he isn't afraid to point out when we simply don't have enough information to know something for sure.

Would highly recommend to anyone interested in this period of history.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book, 4 Mar. 2015
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I enjoyed this book. It is quite factual and slightly heavy going in places, but it is balanced and Goldsworthy is at pains to point out what we know, and what we don't know. It's more textbook than novel, but a very complete account of the three Punic wars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars carthage more then just hanibal, 11 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) (Paperback)
i really enjoyed the book ,its layout took awhile to get used to. highly detailed not just about battles.also supply and diplomatic aspects and political intrigues both by roman and in Carthage...well worth the read.
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