Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: This book has nothing to do with Anthony Hopkins.
Quick synopsis: A biography of Hannibal focusing mainly on his time in the area of today’s Italy and surrounding areas.
Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like: Archimedes, a nerdy math guy, came up with a mirror he could use to burn ships in the sea from shore. Probably. Never know with these ancient sources but the dude was super smart. No arguments there.
Fun Fact for History Nerds: Hannibal was on or near the Italian peninsula for 16 years, give or take. Pretty strange to think about an “invasion” where a stalemate is reached and the invader basically hangs out for 16 years.
My Take: Ancient history is a rough time period for me. I like to be able to know what I am reading is the real deal and also not to have huge gaps in the story. And especially with Rome, you need to know about the difference between innumerable levels of government from consul to proconsul to I don’t even know it’s exhausting.
All that being said, Hunt does a really good job with Hannibal and this time period. He doesn’t get bogged down in the details of Roman government but gives you enough to know what is going on. His descriptions of battles are clear and concise without losing the genius of Hannibal and Scipio.
I also appreciate that Hunt lets himself report really good stories that are probably completely bogus. Some tales are just too good to pass up even if they are seriously suspect.
Verdict: If ancient history is your thing or you want a good introduction to it, this book is a great start.
If You Liked This Try:
- Adrian Goldsworthy, Augustus
- Barry Strauss, The Spartacus War
- Bart Ehrman, The Triumph of Christianity