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If you are interested in Roman military history -- REALLY interested in Roman military history, than you have found an ideal audiobook. Essentially, this book is the military history of the Roman empire told through the exploits and history of the 10th Legion. The book does not really concern itself with the details of individual life in the Roman military, as much as it concentrates on battles and key events (where the legion went, where they were placed on the battleline, which unit broke first), with almost half of the book devoted to the Legion's history under Julius Ceaser. Given the high level of detail, it is remarkably well-narrated and engaging, but it is difficult to imagine that someone uninterested in the subject will want to listen to the whole thing, since the strategies and methods of many of the battles is similar (the 10th was usually on the right flank, etc.) and there is very little mention of the non-military history of Rome to spice things up. In short -- great as Roman military history, very good for people interested in the history of the Roman world, and only okay for people interested in general history.
27 of 28 people found this review helpful
. . . 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.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
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
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