Swords Against the Senate
By Erik Hildinger
Subtitled, The Rise of the Roman Army and the Fall of the Roman Republic, this volume recounts the roughly 100 years from the defeat of Carthage to Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon.
This is well-traveled territory, and there wasn’t much that surprised or shocked me. If there’s anything new in the book, it didn’t stand out from the dozens of other books I’ve read on the subject.
What is outstanding is Hildinger’s command of the language. This is a very well-written book, packing considerable information into a relatively few pages. He recounts the various political ploys, army reforms, and various interactions among Rome’s movers and shakers with deft and concise descriptions. Then he adds insight and analysis to bring events into focus.
If you’re an ancients buff and can find this in a discount bin (as I did) for $6-$7, grab it. At $26, you’ll have to pander a purchase of this well-written, but well trod period.