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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Andrew on 04-26-09
You Need Not Be A Scholar . . .
. . . to enjoy this book.
I'm a phase reader. Typically, something will spark my interest in a particular historical person or period, and I'll read several books on the topic before some other spark leads me elsewhere.
In a classical history phase, I listened to "Caesar's Legion" in its entirety, without my interest waning. The details of everyday life in a Roman legion, its recruitment, training, chores, etc. is balanced by the great events and personalities of the time.
I think it can be more difficult sorting out some of the similar sounding names and places of the classical period without the visual cues of print, but I don't mind not having an exact grasp of incidental geography (northern Egypt or western Armenia is good enough) or an assured understanding of each and every proconsul and tribune of the period.
Purists may be put off by a lot of the speculative description the author employs--"Pompous Hubris would have jumped to his feet and rushed to wall for a view of the enemy's approach, barking out a string of orders as he ran"--but he rarely goes beyond this sort of likely human behavior.
The narration, like a lot of others I hear, seems like it may be problematic at first; but as usual (for me, anyway), after 10 minutes, or so, it becomes unobtrusive ... and by the end, you can't imagine any other voice reading the story.
This is not a dense, scholarly tome. A general reader, with an interest in the period, or one just passing through the epoch, should enjoy it quite a bit.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
By Joseph E. Mercier on 05-17-09
Wish there was more
This is the kind of historic story telling I adore. Julius Caesar was an incredible warrior and leader of men. But he may well have laid the ground work for the western world we now live in when he put together 10th Legion circa 60 BC from raw recruits in the Roman territory of Spain and birthed an an entity that would shaped western history for nearly 150 years into the future. The the details of the troop movements and detailed information on what it took to form a legion of fighting man into a coherent force fleshed out the realities of the Roman age. For me it was the personal stories of soldiers that made up the 10th Legion that really what sets this work apart from others. In fact, I was shocked that the 10th eventually found itself on the opposing side of the from Caesar's nephew Octavius and under the leadership of Mark Anthony at Actium.I do wish more detail was provided on Caesar's battle for Alexandria but true to the goal of the work the 10th Legion was not involved in the struggle in Egypt.
Long after the time of Caesar at the end of the Julian dynasty upon the death of Nero, the role played by the 10th Legion in the rise of the Flavian rulers of Rome and the history of the Jewish revolts proved fascinating.
Excellent reading of the work.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By John on 11-03-09
I felt this was an excellent book, extremely well researched and superbly written. The narrator (Stuart Langton) was also excellent. The book does concentrate on the 10th Legion's early years which is unsurprising and tells the story of Roman legionnaires well. I would have liked more information about the 10th legion's later days as post Caesar & Augustus the portrait does become decidedly broad brush. This is however a minor quibble but is probably a testament to just how good the rest of the book was, leaving me wanting more. It is certainly in a class above the time traveller guide to Middle Ages which I am listening to at the moment. The scholarship, writing style and narration in this book are decidedly top class whilst our medieval friends are more of the semi-pro league.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Elspeth on 03-25-12
Good read, but a few errors.
Interesting read, at times gets you into into the thick of things and trundles along at a decent pace and content. However the style of writing, especially throwing in relatively modern terminology and ranks into the context of the Roman empire is wrong and very out of place particuarly in the audio format. If you can stomach triremes being called battleships and members of the Roman armed forces being called Colonels you will enjoy it. If that will be irritating to you you will need to resist the urge to thump the author for a decently written book, spoiled by the writing philosophy behind it.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful