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Pride of Carthage
This epic retelling of the legendary Carthaginian military leader’s assault on the Roman empire begins in Ancient Spain, where Hannibal Barca sets out with tens of thousands of soldiers and 30 elephants. After conquering the Roman city of Saguntum, Hannibal wages his campaign through the outposts of the empire, shrewdly befriending peoples disillusioned by Rome and, with dazzling tactics, outwitting the opponents who believe the land route he has chosen is impossible. Yet Hannibal’s armies must take brutal losses as they pass through the Pyrenees mountains, forge the Rhone river, and make a winter crossing of the Alps before descending to the great tests at Cannae and Rome itself. David Anthony Durham draws a brilliant and complex Hannibal out of the scant historical record–sharp, sure-footed, as nimble among rivals as on the battlefield, yet one who misses his family and longs to see his son grow to manhood. Whether portraying the deliberations of a general or the calculations of a common soldier, vast multilayered scenes of battle or moments of introspection when loss seems imminent, Durham brings history alive.
- March 29, 2005
Make no mistake, there are issues with this book, but David Anthony Durham has done such an incredible job of bringing Hannibal and the Second Punic War to life that I rate "Pride of Carthage" five stars anyway. Hannibal's story of war, struggle, revenge, and hate is one of the most fascinating and evocative stories in human history, but Hannibal's story comes to us through only a couple of classical sources: the larger events of the period are known, but the details passed into antiquity after the Romans razed the city of Carthage and Carthage's entire culture during the Third Punic War. To know Hannibal, then, we must resort to fiction. Several authors have taken on Hannibal's life, including John Maddox Roberts and Ross Leckie. Their books are good reading, but Durham has taken Hannibal's story to an entirely new level, with a fully developed, multi-dimensional Hannibal character, and supporting characters who become so real we feel that they must be historical people rather than... read more
Timely and Timeless
By Gerard F. Leblanc
- January 20, 2005
I was fascinated by the timeless story of Hannibal, one of the true icons of military history. I have never heard the epic of his Iberian campaigns and his quest for Rome told with such detail - be it historically accurate or provided by the author's craft.
DAD draws you into what this fascinating commander and his brothers' lives might have been like - beyond just the bloodshed and battle - by telling it through some gritty characters who have pretty fascinating stories themselves. There's all kinds in this book!
I kept thinking about how this story of military conquest gave great descriptions of the way that war *was* waged, and how politics still affects the way that wars are waged today. Rome was a superpower, and they had a certain logic to their strategies that Hannibal was able to exploit, even when out numbered. Understanding the enemy, or not understanding the enemy can mean all the difference. I found this story to be a timely look at how our... read more
Fascinating portrayal of Hannibal and the Punic War
By O. roussis
- January 25, 2005
Before I read this book all I knew about Hannibal was he attacked Rome with some elephants. Pride of Carthage is a hefty undertaking but well worth the time to read and in fact I found myself reading it every spare moment I had until I finished it. Pride of Carthage has a large cast of characters and while at first I thought the book was going to be a lot of military maneuvers (there were plenty)Durham also took the time to develop interesting characters other than Hannibal. I particularly liked the view of the common soldier rising through the ranks, the young Roman tribune and Hannibals wife and sisters. These other stories fleshed out Hannibals own deeds and gave some real insight into how it was to live during this period of history. The Punic Wars effected everyone in North Africa, Spain and Italy not just the soldiers fighting and it was a very brutal war for all involved. This book was fascinating and well written and unbeatable combination and I truly enjoyed every page... read more
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