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This is an awesome history of Carthage, with a fresh look at how it existed in its own times and setting, as opposed to the way it appeared to Greek and Roman historians. Obviously, we have no opportunity to do primary research on Carthaginian mores and motives, but the author does an outstanding job of dissecting much of the conventional wisdom about Carthage, its people, and the events surrounding its rise and fall.
Some reviews have addressed a long dry patch somewhat early in the work, and I did in fact wind up forwarding past a few chapters. Yet this is what makes the book definitive. I was blown away by the level of detail assessing sources such as works of art, artifacts, and secondhand histories through the economic drivers, likely cultural influences, and geographic facts of life lend the author's own analysis a great weight. Just the same, this section is a bit dry if you are not already conversant with much of the artifact-based history. Having heard a good sampling of the evidence, I skipped much of it, decided to take him at his word and got back to the juicy mainstream of the book.
This is a powerful and convincing history well told by the writer and well-read by the narrator. A top-notch effort and well worth not only your money, but your time and attention.
If you were interested enough to check out this title, then this IS a book you want.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
I have read a fair amount of ancient history, but never knew much about Carthage in particular. This book gives a compelling, easy to understand and enjoyable to hear overview of the ancient city's entire history. There are just a few dry as dust sections where archaeological details get a little overwhelming, but the vast majority of the book moves along well. Grover Gardner, as always, does a great job with the narration.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
The book covers the whole history of Carthage from it's foundation to it's destruction. All the major events are covered, but if you want a more comprehensive account of the Punic wars and Hannibal, you will find better books on the market. I like the accounts of lesser know events such as the battle for Sicily with the Greeks, and the Mercenary Wars. The problem for any history of Carthage is that virtually all the sources are Roman or Greek, which are hostile, and getting a deep understand of how the Carthaginian thought and operated are difficult. The author discusses the problem of the bias in source material, which I'm a fan of.
As a scholar the author looks to emphasis the role of the divine in motivating ancient peoples, not just the political and economic. Heracles is constantly referred to as the ideal template for a conquering hero, but some of the subtles of how this related to the actions of the ancients was lost on me at times.
This history has both depth and is accessible, and I loved the final lines that said that when the Romans needed to be reminded how great they were they thought of the Punic Wars.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
clearly a very extensive book and informtion, let down by a very poor narrator
I also feel the title does not match the content of the book so well, many will be drawn to is based upon the roman/carthage wars, but there is also a huge amount of pre history to get through first.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful