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Twilight of the Hellenistic World Hardcover – 15 Sep 2011

3.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (15 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848841361
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848841369
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 2.2 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 643,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a good summary of the 30 year period or so (around 230 to 200 BC) that preceded the irruption of Rome in Greece and its domination of the Hellenistic world. It is hardly original but it brings together the contents of a number of scholarly books in an effective and accessible way for the so-called "general reader". As usual for this collection, the authors have only limited space to discuss the issues, although they still manage to do so in an interesting way.

The book is divided into eight chapters and presents five of the main land battles opposing Hellenistic powers and one significant naval battle (between Philip V of Macedon and the King of Pergamon allied to Rhodes) is described in the conclusion. The chapter on the Rise of Aratus draws mainly on an old and hard to find biography of this statesman by Walbank (Aratus of Sicyon, 1934). The pieces related to Antiochus III, the Seleucid king, rely a lot on Bar Kochva's unrivalled book of the Seleukid army, although the authors' reconstitution of the battle of Panion against the Ptolemies is significantly different. Grainger's works on The League of the Aitolians, the Syrian Wars and The Roman War of Antiochus the Great are also very much relied upon for chapters 2 to 6 and 8.

All in all, this book has numerous qualities:
- it clearly shows that, contrary to Roman and pro-Roman propaganda (starting with the Achean Polybios, which the authors always call "Polybius", using the latinized form of his name, and present as a "quisling"), the Hellenistic monarchies and states were not "decadent".
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Format: Hardcover
I got this book when it first came out and read and enjoyed it. I have just finished reading it again for the second time and enjoyed it just as much. It is a period of history which normally focuses on Rome and its supposedly unstoppable rise. It covers the last days of the Hellenistic world being free of Rome. My personal favourites being the battle of Sellasia and the earlier period of antiochus the great. I always enjoy reading about anything to do with sparta and most books deal with everything up to and including the battle of leuctra but sadly that's where it ends. If it does go beyond this point then it is a rushed coverage. Again with antiochus we forget his impressive achievements prior to losing the battle of magnesia (which was still a close affair) and this book shows parts of his life before this battle. I enjoy the authors writing style as relaxed and engaging but also informative. I previously enjoyed the first volume of their book on the wars of Alexander's successors. Pen and sword need to allow larger books however as again this book is slightly let down by its short length but all in all a great read
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Format: Kindle Edition
A neglected period of history which I've always had an interest in, and so an easy purchase. Clearly something of a labour of love for the authors, who seem to have chased down virtually every available source. But a hard read. The names of kings, generals and other characters appear that are probably worthy of an Alfred Duggan type historical novel in their own right, and then disappear a few dry paragraphs of text later. I also struggled to understand the big picture - e.g. where the various empires, leagues, kingdoms and city states were situated and why they made war against each other so persistently. I finally made it to the end and will keep as a reference.
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed the book and found it a useful general guide. It isn't the book for the person who is already deeply knowledgeable about the period but is an excellent introduction to someone who is wanting to know more.
Size precludes the authors going into the sort of detail many military historians and wargamers would doubtless like.
What does let it down are the maps, which are not merely poor but are mislabelled as well.
Still I feel it justifies four stars
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I attempted to start reading this book on a subject I'm quite interested in & have studied
at university. I was greeted firstly, with no biographical details on the authors
or their qualifications to write on this topic, maps that had titles mixed up &
finally by the most turgid, cliche ridden, semi-literate text I've ever had
the misfortune to peruse. Also the current political views of the authors on
recent British history! I got a few pages in before I gave up!

From my days as an English Foreign Language teacher it almost seemed to
be a vanity publishing project for an overseas student using very bad grammar.
Whoever 'Mike Roberts & Bob Bennett' really are, they need to start rewriting their
books so that people can actually read them!

However this is in line with a worrying trend, ie., the poor quality of History Channel &
National Geographic 'historical' docs rushed out on low budgets to meet product demand
by cable TV. Another example are some of the military Osprey books hastily written for the
'market'.

This book on Hellenistic warfare although looking good on the cover & with plenty of B/W
photographs is a probable example of a rushed 'pop history' book on military history.

Stick with reliable academic books on the subject.

I've applied for an immediate refund on this outrageously poor product.

Ken J
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