Theodore Ayrault Dodge
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Buy *Hannibal* online


Theodore Ayrault Dodge
Da Capo Press
704 pages
March 2004 (reissue)
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Hannibal is the republication of a classic history of both Hannibalís legendary military might and his less-recognized ability to be ahead of his time. Definitely one of the finest generals the world has ever known, his exploits are the stuff of legend: how he crossed the nearly impenetrable Alps and demoralized his opponents with terror by bringing them face to face with a herd of battle-ready elephants. Imagine the shock: number one, that you have always believed there was no way that anyone could even if they tried cross the Alps, and number two, there rumbling toward you are towering beasts you have never seen before that look very ominous indeed, although they are really gentle giants. One thing for sure about Hannibal is that he was a brilliant tactician. He was also a master showman, knowing that the sight of something unbelievable combined with the completely unexpected way he and his men had arrived would give him the upper hand while leaving his opponent discombobulated.

This book goes into fascinating (if you are a military buff), minute (if you are a history buff) or excruciating (if you are a Danielle Steele fan-if so what are you doing reading this book anyway?) detail about battles and formations. If that were all there was to it, even the most avid military history buff might get a bit tired. What makes this book work so well that it is still being read today is the fact that readers are given the backstory of what made Hannibalís many conquests necessary. He was, in fact, no barbarian as many would like to pass him off. His maneuvers were far too complex to be the work of anyone but someone with a keen intellect and a knack for noticing what everyone else overlooks.

For those who have always wanted to get inside the minds of great generals, this is your chance. This book is as close as anyone can get to know the stratagem of Hannibal. Hannibal is a bit long-winded, but if you are interested enough to pick up the book in the first place, I guarantee that once you start reading it you will be too interested to put it down. Part of the reason people keep reading this book is there are many insights given about the Roman society against which Hannibal was fighting. Everything makes more sense when the reasons behind each sideís actions have some definition.

Some will say that ancient battles hold no relevance in todayís world of super-sophisticated arsenals. In truth, no matter your weapons, your biggest asset is superior tactics. Obviously, the U.S. is not going to parachute a herd of elephants over Baghdad. It is not that the specific acts he committed are helpful; it is the way he arrived at the decisions to use what he did as he did. Recommended for military history buffs.

© 2005 by Camden Alexander for curledup.com.

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