13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Carthage should be understood,
This review is from: Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization (Allen Lane History) (Hardcover)
As the other reviews have suggested this is an excellent book, a concise presentation of the society that came close to obliterating an emerging Rome three centuries before the birth of Christ. The scale (battles that numerically dwarf those of World War One and exceed them in savagery, on land and sea), the strategic complexity and audacity of the characters, the unanswered questions and "what ifs" - it just doesn't get any more epic. This is why I find historical fiction a tepid substitute for historical fact.
I came to Richard Miles' book having read Adrian Goldsworthy "The Punic Wars". Published in 2000 it is well-focused military history but left me contextually curious. I also enjoyed "Hannibal - Rome's Worst Nightmare" the BBC 2006 dramatised documentary centred on the Italian campaign. For some reason this DVD is only sold by Amazon Germany.
Military campaigning aside, I wanted to understand more about Carthage, its political and economic base, their belief systems and religion and this is what Miles presents along with the Carthage at war. He writes well, dispels the Roman inspired negative stereotypes " mendacious, greedy, untrustworthy, cruel, arrogant and irreligious" (the pot calling the kettle black?). I found his explanation of political power and religious belief fascinating and equally how Carthage was a collation of interests not the monolithic entity we tend to assume. Overall this book is an object lesson in illustrating that academic credibility is not compromised by the fluency of his story telling. A very good book, I will re read it.