Carey presents a well-researched and very readable account of the epic military struggle between ancient Rome and Carthage known to history as the Punic Wars. The author breathes life into the ancient historical accounts of Polybius and Livy and supplements his concise narrative with great tactical maps, setting it a part from British Field Marshal Bagnall's book. As the title suggests, the strength of this book is the reconstruction of the Battle of Zama in 202, complete with an eleven map reconstruction of this important engagement. Although lean on political history, this book is a fine introduction to how the Romans and Carthaginians waged Europe's first "Great War".
When I got this book I was hoping for a book on the battle of Zama. There have been several written on Cannae and I figured that this would be along a similar vein. I was wrong. Frankly, I wonder if the publishers chose the title after the fact. But I'm going to try and ignore this and review this book for what it is. First off, it's a very short book. That is not a good thing when dealing with such a large topic. Basically, the book analyzes the methods of Hannibal and Scipio and shows what type of commanders they both were. There are a number of diagrams for the battles which help in understanding them. Honestly, I don't have a problem with this book as a history of the Punic Wars, but it really needed to include more information. I'd recommend Goldworthy's The Fall of Carthage or Bagnall's The Punic Wars. Both go into more depth and are more enjoyable than this. The only real plus side to this book is the diagrams.