2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2011
This book is generally a very short introduction to Hannibal as a general. At 64 pages it can't really go into much detail about Hannibal's life in the same way as Ernle Bradford's excellent biography, but it's still a good book.
The book begins with a short overview of Hannibal's early life, before Mr.Fields goes on to cover his career - starting with the crossing of the alps and going on to describe the battles of Trebbia, Cannae, and Zama. A short section then covers Hannibal's opponents such as Flaminius, Varro and the famous Scipio Africanus. Unfortunately the book's aim of entering the mind of the general is let down by the paucity of sources. We are entirely reliant on the works of Roman historians to reconstruct the life of Hannibal, as no Carthaginian writings have survived. As a result any attempt to analyse the battles from Hannibal's point of view is doomed.
The book is also illustrated with some very basic tactical maps, photographs of the locations described in the text, as well as some excellent colour plates, courtesy of Peter Dennis. As a matter of fact I consider Dennis's illustrations to be the highlight of the book - a shame that there's only three of them. As for the prose, Nic Field's text is readable and easy to understand.
If you want a very short and very basic introduction to Hannibal the general, then this would be a good place to start, but if you want to know more about the man then I suggest a better biography. I personally found Ernle Bradford's 1981 biography to be a well written guide.