Home | Reviews | Blog | Daily | Glossary | Orrin's Stuff | Email

Adrian Goldsworthy is a highly-regarded young British historian and, on the basis of his immensely readable Punic Wars, it's easy to see why. The book more than lives up to its glowing cover blurb from the great military historian John Keegan and, in fact, reminds one of his own work as Mr. Goldsworthy renders what might be confusing battle scenes with admirable clarity. Equally impressive is the way he sifts the ancient sources, highlighting long-running controversies, and explains why he makes choices among them. The focus is heavily on the actual fighting, so you'll have to look elsewhere for a thorough treatment of the politics behind it all, but he succeeds brilliantly at depicting the warfare between Rome and Carthage.

Also useful are the Preface and conclusion in which Mr. Goldsworthy explains why we should still be interested in this history. He begins by noting that when he would mention the topic on which he was writing to people they'd murmur something about the Alps but that would about exhaust their knowledge. This is undoubtedly true for almost all of us, but astonishing given how central Greek and Roman language, history, and culture were to the educations of our forebears. To have forgotten these things as a society is to have weakened one of the pillars on which they built our civilization. And if it seems unimportant to some, Mr. Goldsworthy ends by suggesting just one of the ways in which the Roman victory in the Punic Wars matters utterly to us today. it made possible the Roman Empire and within that Empire the eventual penetration of Christianity to the ends of Europe. We still live in the world these wars made possible. It's not asking much that we recall them and when a historian as deft as this comes along, it's even pleasurable to do so.


Grade: (A)


See also:

Adrian Goldsworthy (3 books reviewed)
Adrian Goldsworthy Links:

    -Adrian GoldsworthyWikipedia)
    -BOOK SITE: Caesar: Life of a Colossus by Adrian Goldsworthy (Yale University Press)
    -BOOK SITE: How Rome Fell (Yale University Press)
    -GOOGLE BOOK : How Rome Fell
    -AUDIO LECTURE: Adrian Goldsworthy: How Rome Fell (Adrian Goldsworthy, October 15, 2009, at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th Street, Kansas City, MO.
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: Adrian Goldsworthy interview, "How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower" (Marshall Poe, University of Iowa, 5-1-2009, New Books Network)
-ESSAY: Brutus says he was ambitious: On Caesar, Cato & the fall of the Roman Republic. (Adrian Goldsworthy, February 2023, New Criterion)
    -ESSAY: An Empire of the Mediterranean: There was more to Carthage than her defeat by Rome (ADRIAN GOLDSWORTHY, 7/23/11, WSJ)
    -ESSAY: Caesar: Diplomacy and power: How would four of the greatest war leaders in history have handled Iraq? (Adrian Goldsworthy, December 29, 2006, LA Times)
    -REVIEW: of THE CLASSICAL WORLD: An Epic History From Homer to Hadrian by Robin Lane Fox (Adrian Goldsworthy, Washington Post)
    -REVIEW: of Jonathan P. Roth, The Logistics of the Roman Army at War (264 BC - AD 235) (Adrian Goldsworthy, Bryn Mawr Classical Review)
    -REVIEW: of Greg Woolf, Rome: An Empire’s Story (Adrian Goldsworthy, National Interest)
    -VIDEO INTERVIEW: Adrian Goldsworthy (Book TV, 12/16/06)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: with Adrian Goldsworthy (Tom Ashbrook, 9/15/06, On Point)
    -PODCAST: with Adrian Goldsworthy (Yale University Press)
    -ESSAY: Decline and Fall. And Hope. (Dr. Edmund J. Mazza, February 03, 2013, Catholic World Report)
    -ESSAY: Why Rome Fell (Richard A. Gabriel, 7/3/2013, HistoryNet)
    -ESSAY: Gibbon, the Muses, and the Decline of Rome (Michael Auslin, National Review)
    -ARCHIVES: "adrian goldsworthy (Find Articles)
    -REVIEW: of How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower by Adrian Goldsworthy (Diana Preston, Washington Post)
    -REVIEW: of How Rome Fell (Bruce S. Thornton, New Criterion)
    -REVIEW: of How Rome Fell (Hugh Elton, Trent University , Bryn Mawr Classical Review)
This is not a book that I could use in the classroom--too thick, too well-written, and perhaps most dangerously, too clear.

    -REVIEW: of How Rome Fell (Brandon Crocker, American Spectator)
    -REVIEW: of How Rome Fell (Marc Tracy, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of How Rome Fell (Peter Stothard, Times Literary Supplement)
    -REVIEW: of How Rome Fell (Dr. Philip Matyszak, UNRV History)
    -REVIEW: of How Rome Fell (About Ancient History)
    -REVIEW: of How Rome Fell (Ilya Somin, Volokh Conspiracy)
    -REVIEW: of How Rome Fell (Alexander Wilson, Armchair General)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar: Life of a Colossus by Adrian Goldsworthy (Tom Holland, The Spectator)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (Adam Kirsch, NY Sun)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (Anthony Everitt, Independent)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (Christopher Hart, Independent)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (Steve Coates, International Herald Tribune)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (Dave Gagon, Deseret Morning News)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (David Walton, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (A.A. Nofi, Strategy Page)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (The Week)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (N.S. Gill,
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (Irene Hahn,
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (Blake D. Dvorak, Washington Times)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (Pete Stothard, Globe & Mail)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (Noonie Minogue, The Tablet)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (Daily Telegraph)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (Tara Pepper, Newsweek)
    -REVIEW: of Caesar (Tracy Lee Simmons, Washin gton Post)
    -REVIEW: of How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower By Adrian Goldsworthy (Brandon Crocker , American Spectator)
    -REVIEW: of (
    -REVIEW: of IN THE NAME OF ROME by Adrian Goldsworthy (Allan Massie, The Spectator)
    -REVIEW: of The Roman Army at War 100 BC-AD 200 by Adrian K. Goldsworthy (Dr. Randall S. Howarth, Bryn Mawr Classical Review)
    -REVIEW: of Roman Warfare by Adrian Goldsworthy (Ashton Boone, Encompass: A Journal of Military History)
    -REVIEW: of Phillip & Alexander by Adrian Goldsworthy (NB)

Book-related and General Links:

    -ESSAY: ‘CARTHAGE MUST BE DESTROYED!’ CRIED A ROMAN STATESMAN. SO THAT’S JUST WHAT ROME DID.: Rome made sure its worst historical foe would never rise again. (MARC G. DESANTIS, 8/23/2022, HistoryNet)
-Carthage: Lost Empire (Channel 4)
    -Punic War, First, 264-241 BC,/a> (History of War)
-First Punic War (Wikipedia)
    -LINKS: Military Resources (neil hideyoshi)
    -REVIEW: of T. Cornell, B. Rankov and Ph. Sabin, The Second Punic War: A Reappraisal (David Potter, Bryn Mawr Classical Review)
    -ESSAY: On a Roman mosaic as far as the Sahara: Tunisia's is a history of invasion. John Gimlette joins a peaceful incursion, from Carthage to the timeless souk (John Gimlette, 22/04/2000, Daily Telegraph)