Reference books do not often make for popular reading. Many are too thick and cumbersome, their dusty pages clogged with statistics and data, lengthy quotations and technical prose. Good for academics and universities, yes. Worthy of a glance or two in passing, certainly. But to buy? Usually I avoid it. After all, why buy an encyclopaedia of nineteenth-century Russian literature when one could read Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky? Why buy a compendium of ancient battles when one could read Tacitus or Xenophon or Thucydides, or any number of modern classicists?
Such were my thoughts before reading Don Taylor’s Roman Empire at War: A Compendium of Battles from 31 BC to AD 565. Although my preconceptions found some basis in reality, I admit I was pleasantly surprised by this little book – and by little I mean little! Numbering only 215 pages, it surely must rank among the most concise compendiums ever written...
...continue to the review of Empire at War: A Compendium of Roman Battles by Don Taylor