You have to feel something when you pick up this book, looking at the old Roman veteran staring off into the distance. He looks off into the distance, taking in a sunset over an endless view of land- his achievement. Adrain Goldsworthy's book sucks you right in.
In the Name of Rome is about those generals who won the Roman Empire. From Fabius and Macellus, the 'Sword and Shield' of Republican Rome, to one of the last, Belisarius against the Persians, this book describes in great detail the lives and accomplishments of the greatest generals Rome has ever seen.
Each chapter lays out the social and political situations, how each general got their power, which leads up to the tensions, the battles and struggles that ensue, and the final victory- or in some cases, defeat.
Evidently a great deal of research has gone into this adding to the growing popularity and credibility of Adrian Goldsworthy. There are several diagrams showing the topography and troops setup scattered throughout each chapter, troop estimates, and no biasing between various generals. Both good and bad sides of each general are displayed.
"His [Marius] achievements were considerable, ending the run of shattering defeats which the Cimbri and their allies had inflicted on the legions," yet, "Marius in his later years was a selfish, vindictive, and at times also a pathetic figure, who plunged the Republic into the first of the civil wars which in time would destroy it."
This book is primarily suited for those who like a good dose of detail, but at the same time get a good generalization of the issues. First timers into the Roman world will like this one because of the juiciness yet lack of over-analysis. It is well written, straightforward, and doesn't throw in debate questions. This is one of those books that you curl up under a tree with and float off into the ancient world with.
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