Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon

Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon

by B.h. Liddell Hart

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From one of the most brilliant military historians of our time, this is the classic biography of Rome's greatest general and the victor over Rome's greatest enemy, Hannibal

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 public memory.As B.H. Liddell Hart writes,"Scipio's battles are richer in stratagems and ruses--many still feasible today--than those of any other commander in history." Any military enthusiast or historian will find this to be an absorbing, gripping portrait.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786740703
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 03/31/2004
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 182,489
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Captain Basil Henry Liddell Hart (1895--1970) was a prolific military historian and one of the foremost military theorists of the twentieth century. His many books include Scipio Africanus, Lawrence of Arabia, The Rommel Papers, and Sherman (all available from Da Capo Press).

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Scipio Africanus 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
CrazyLegs More than 1 year ago
Liddel Hart does a great job highlighting the impact Scipio has on the Punic Wars vs. Hannibal. Hart's goal is to show you that Scipio was as great of a military leader, statesman, and person as Caesar, Napolean, and Alexander (among others). Not much information is available to get into detail on his early life, but Hart does well in detailing each of Scipio's military ventures in layman's terms. If you are a military history buff or avid reader of Ancient Rome, this bio on Scipio is a must read.
dougwood57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The subtitle accurately reflects Liddell Hart¿s opinion of Scipio Africanus. Liddell Hart was a leading British military historian and strategist between the two world wars of the 20th century. But in 1926 at age 31, he wrote this brilliant concise history of the third century BCE Roman general. Publius Scipio Africanus led the Romans to victory over the Carthaginians in the Second Punic War. He defeated the better known Hannibal in the Battle of Zama in 202 BCE.After a brief introduction and the story of Hannibal¿s defeat of Scipio¿s father in 211 BCE, Liddell Hart takes the reader through Scipio¿s victorious campaign against the Carthaginians in the Iberian Peninsula. Liddell Hart is unstinting in his praise of the Scipio¿s willingness and ability to innovate and break free from stale military strategies and tactics. He also lauds Scipio¿s generous treatment of the native tribes and even his defeated foes. Scipio returns home to election as consul and appointment as general for Sicily and Africa. Liddell Hart portrays Scipio as beset by conservative and jealous senators more anxious to drag him down than to further Roman interests. Scipio narrowly prevails over his political enemies, but is granted a very small force in Sicily. Scipio overcomes all odds, takes his army to Africa and defeats the legendary and much more experienced Hannibal. He returns to Rome and an increasingly unhappy struggle against his political foes led by Cato the Elder.Liddell Hart¿s writing is clear and concise (the Da Capo Press version is just 280 pages). He makes military strategy and tactics accessible to the general reader. From both the context and numerous comments, it is clear that Liddell Hart¿s high opinion of Scipio Africanus was against the grain of accepted scholarship at the time. He is especially dismissive of the opinions of the academic historians with no military background. I will leave it to others to argue the relative merits of Liddell Hart¿s view of the Roman general, but his book is well worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have two favorite historuian, Theodore Dodge and Phillip Freemsn. The former focuses on military aspects of the generals biographis he writes, Phillip Focuses more on the person the the percision of battlefield tactics They both wrote books on the very same three generals, Hannibal, Juliu Caeser And Alaxander The Great THIS Aurthor Hart, is in between both of these his style, but he writes of th captain the other two ommit when Scipio Rivaled them all Scipio by my two favorite authors is only mentioned as having defeated hannibal at Zama. But Scipio did much more that may not only rival hannibal but exceed him I heard reading Theodore Dodge than some put scipio on par o greater than Hannibal. But Scipio was in his early twenties with the bare minum of troops the sente could offer, and made a feint march then changed his direction and stormed the enemy base. Then, highly outnumbered, he defeated carthaginians army after army. Then when he marched on africa, Scipio was even more highly outnumdered split his army into a bulk and then a small group, and simultaniously attacked both carthaginian camps by storm when this idea was unheard of, With the defensse of a fort with romans in gaul they heald off ten times their number behind there walls, scipio was a madman with the gods on his side. After reading the three great captains i mentioned earlier, I cannot belive I have never heard of scipio, his use of ambushes, encircling an army with his force whil infantry engaged then taking by the rear. Waiting for the tides to be right so legionaires could mount ladders to new carthage (the enemy base) and take them from where they though was imposiible to attack. I have given you a brief overview and have not gotten into the very details of his ingenious tactics and strategy, I you want to know the True story of Scipio and Hannibal at Zama and what brought scipio to that point You will have to read the masterpiece this author has written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of all, I loved this book. In reading it, one can clearly see that Scipio is a high caliber general and an honorable man. It is an easy and relaxing read. However, after reading the last chapter I was misled into believing that Scipio is far greater than Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar. Scipio is made to seem faultless. Scipio made clear mistakes. Although he decisively defeated Hasdrubal Barca at Baecula, he allowed Hasdrubal to escape and cross the Alps. The whole reason of having an army in Spain was for the purpose of keeping a second ¿Hannibal¿ out of Italy. Had Hasbrubal met with Hannibal, Rome surely would have suffered a second string of defeats, which may have destroyed her. Scipio also missed a key opportunity to take a defenseless Carthage, but he instead took Utica. Despite these errors, Scipio still proved to be an excellent tactician and a good strategist, as his enhancement of the Roman horse proved. Hannibal is underrated and misjudged by Liddell-Hart. Hannibal faced incredible odds. The first of which, he never had any infantry to match the Roman foot soldier. These were the best trained and disciplined of their day. Hannibal had to rely on mercenaries, which are not as dependable. Hannibal is criticized for not marching on Rome. After Cannae, Hannibal had around 40,000 men with no siege equipment or engineers. The garrison of Rome alone had alone 40,000 men. Rome also had additional armies to call up. A siege of Rome would have would have sharply ended the war in Rome¿s favor. Instead, Hannibal, with his depleted army, remained the scourge of Roman armies for another twelve years! He had a severe lack of support at home, while the Romans heavily outnumbered him. His failure at Zama was inevitable. The majority of his troops were green, the depletion of his once invincible cavalry, the might of the Roman foot soldier, and the foresight of Scipio bought about this defeat. Quickly now, Alexander! The armies of Darius were not barbarian hordes. The Greeks/ Macedonians called anyone who wasn¿t Greek a barbarian. These armies were well organized with some of the best cavalry known even after Alexander¿s battles. Alexander defeated the Persians with excellent tactics and strategy. The accusation about rejecting Parmenio¿s plan for a night attack is foolish. That very night Darius had prepared for one. Alexander faced tough enemies with brilliance. The battle of Hydaspes clearly shows this. With 14,000 men Alexander crushed Porus¿s veteran army of 50,000. Still, Alexander made mistakes as well, mainly in a few marches. In the end, this book is excellent, but the last chapter generalizes the flaws of other generals into giant black marks. If you read this book, read on and be objective. Still, I believe that in the end that Scipio should not be among the ¿greats¿. He did not fight enough battles or campaigns for this to happen. He was brilliant and a man to be admired.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One the greatest military biographies of all time, B.H. Liddell Hart's Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon stands as a testament to the noblest strategist Rome ever produced. Scipio's consecutive victories over some of the greatest generals of the ancient world (Mago, Hasdrubal, and Hannibal) are usually reduced to a blurb when most historians describe the 2nd Punic War. More often than not, Scipio's name is never even mentioned. The description generally simply reads: 'Hannibal beaten back by Roman forces.' However, the man directly responsible for saving Roma is robbed of his prestigious honors because he never fell prey to the despotic tendencies that lesser victories roused in other Roman commanders (Caesar for instance.) Here is a great captain who never lost a single battle; a great captain who won more with supreme strategy than the likes of Caesar ever won with vanity and tyranny. Hart's well balanced biography of Scipio Africanus truly brings the former's place in history to light. It is a well-paced, economically written account of the first (and possibly only) great general in service of a republic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A truly enjoyable book. Very comprehensive in terms of describing the tactics and reasonings of scipio, as well as his diplomatic strategies. For anyone who has never heard or heard very little of scipio africanus and is questioning the title, the author gives a very convincing argument; in essence, 'It's not how much you win, but who you win against.' Truly a brilliant tactician and an adept diplomat, I'm glad the story of the man who beat hannibal could be told. Highly recommened for anyone interested in roman or military history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good read