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Scipio Africanus: A Greater Than Napoleon

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Scipio Africanus: A Greater Than Napoleon.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    B. H. Liddell Hart(Author)

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Scipio Africanus (236-183 B.C.) was one of the most exciting and dynamic leaders in history. As commander he never lost a battle. Yet it is his adversary, Hannibal, who has lived on in the public memory, due mostly to his daring march through the Alps with his elephants. At the Battle of the Ticinus, Hannibal's initial encounter with Roman arms, young Scipio first tasted warfare, rescuing his dangerously wounded, encircled father, who was also the Roman commander. By nineteen Scipio was the equivalent of a staff colonel and in 210 B.C. he was placed in supreme command. In three years he destroyed Carthaginian power in Spain and, after being made consul, took his forces to Africa, where he conquered Carthage's great ally, Syphax. Two years later he clashed with Hannibal himself, annihilating his army in the decisive Battle of Zama. For this triumph and his other exploits in the Punic Wars, Scipio was awarded the title Africanus.In his fascinating portrait of this extraordinary commander, B. H. Liddell Hart writes, "The age of generalship does not age, and it is because Scipio's battles are richer in stratagems and ruses--many still feasible today--than those of any other commander in history that they are an unfailing object lesson." Not only military enthusiasts and historians but all those interested in outstanding men will find this magnificent study absorbing and gripping.

Captain Basil Henry Liddell Hart (1895-1970) was one of the foremost military theorists of our time. His many books include Scipio Africanus, Lawrence of Arabia, The Rommel Papers,andSherman (all available from Da Capo Press/ Perseus Books Group). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Book details

  • PDF | 288 pages
  • B. H. Liddell Hart(Author)
  • Greenhill Books; New edition edition (16 Oct. 1992)
  • English
  • 3
  • Biography

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Review Text

  • By Stephen Wotton on 16 October 2001

    Lidddell Hart has written firstly a very good biography of Scipio Africanus and also a good work of Military History. His understanding of battle tactics and the decisive actions that can make victory is testimony to his own great experience. However I agree somewhat with other reviewers - he belittles the achievements of Alexander and Hannibal (although not Caesar) and I don't believe a comparison with Napoleon is necessarily.But the underrated brilliance of Africanus: his astonishing rise to command in his early twenties, his charisma, inspirational leadership and most of all his canny understanding of Strategy in an age where few could comprehend the concept is well illustrated.

  • By Audun H on 26 January 2003

    As ever Liddell-Hart combines his vast knowledge of all things military with his distinctive writing style. Writing shortly after the mechanised horrors of World War I which he witnessed at first hand there is no little melancholy about the book, this is a quest for a golden age when generals displayed genius and originality rather than merely hurling wave after wave of young men against the machine of death that industrialised warfare had become. Sadly it seems Liddell-Hart seems to have used the more colourful writing of Livy as his main source, particularly when he talks of the Carthaginian forces massed at Zama for the final showdown between Scipio and Hannibal - the Army of Italy which had triumphed at Cannae this was not. However this is a masterpiece of military writing and a worthy tribute to one of the (almost) forgotten generals of history. Scipio's genius was that he learnt from a true master of the art of war and transformed Rome's military forever. Greater than Napoleon? Probably not, not even greater than Hannibal, yet militarily at least Scipio was ultimately triumphant. Hannibal stands above Alexander amongst the generals of antiquity, for all of Rome's military failings prior to his arrival in Italy, Rome and her allies, especially their total dominance of the sea, combined with the the inability of Carthage to fully support his Italian campaign meant that he faced vastly superior and far more determined opposition than Alexander ever would (sorry Alexander fans!). Hannibal did not lose the war any more than Scipio singlehandedly won it, but this is a terrific read and will greatly enhance the readers knowledge of tactics and strategy, but admirers of Napoleon should not take the title of the book as an insult, Liddell-Hart's Scipio, if not the real man, certainly surpasses any general in history. Peter Connolly and Ernle Bradford have both produced books that do more justice to the great Carthaginian and the Second Punic War and perhaps put Scipio in a truer light, a very gifted and innovative commander. The man who beats Napoleon hands down is the Mongol general Subodai, but that's another story...

  • By D. Jonas on 7 February 2008

    Mr. Hart has a very compelling writing style and makes an excellent case in favor of Scipio Africanus. It's funny how some people (fans/fanatics) choose to ignore facts and simply dismiss Scipio as lucky or rather a victim of cirumstances. Why Scipio hasn't been more recognised is perhaps no wonder since he himself never tried to immortalize himself, unlike many other great leaders. If you also take into consideration the point in time at which he lived, it is easier to understand his relative obscurity.It is interesting to think how Caesar would be portrayed by historians had he not written his own memoirs and been succeeded by his adoptive son; a despot and a tyrant who tried to over-throw (and nearly succeeded) the long successful republic that was the Roman Empire?Clearly, the Roman senate was a body prone to jealousy and resentment. Yet another reason for Scipio's obscurity...Napoleon and Caesar were doubtlessly greater statesmen than Scipio and their legacy therefore much greater, but as a military commander and strategist Scipio has few, if any, equals. The thing that amazes me the most is that his accomplishments were all made at a very young age, and unlike Alexander, he had no natural legitimacy but had to resort to persuasion and clever schemes to achieve his goals. His understanding of human psychology is very impressive indeed.If you are a big fan of Hannibal, beware of this book as it may be a hard wake-up call. Not because Hannibal is portrayed as a poor commander but rather because Scipio is shown to be a better one. All other military enthusiasts should definitely give this book a read (or two).

  • By Rw Lawson on 5 January 2003

    Bearing in mind the forthcoming movie on Hannibal, the author is right to remind us that heroic failures tend to be remembered more than humble victors.As with all Liddell-Harts writing, it's intelligent and yet an easy read. He conveys a lot of military history without boring the general reader.Short and to the point, I would recommend this wholeheartedly.

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