The Ghosts of Cannae by Robert L. O'Connell
Hannibal and the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic

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Synopsis

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For millennia, Carthage’s triumph over Rome at Cannae in 216 B.C. has inspired reverence and awe. No general since has matched Hannibal’s most unexpected, innovative, and brutal military victory. Now Robert L. O’Connell, one of the most admired names in military history, tells the whole story of Cannae for the first time, giving us a stirring account of this apocalyptic battle, its causes and consequences.

O’Connell brilliantly conveys how Rome amassed a giant army to punish Carthage’s masterful commander, how Hannibal outwitted enemies that outnumbered him, and how this disastrous pivot point in Rome’s history ultimately led to the republic’s resurgence and the creation of its empire. Piecing together decayed shreds of ancient reportage, the author paints powerful portraits of the leading players, from Hannibal—resolutely sane and uncannily strategic—to Scipio Africanus, the self-promoting Roman military tribune. Finally, O’Connell reveals how Cannae’s legend has inspired and haunted military leaders ever since, and the lessons it teaches for our own wars.

 

About Robert L. O'Connell

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Robert L. O'Connell has worked as a senior analyst at the National Ground Intelligence Center, as a contributing editor to MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and most recently as a visiting professor at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is the author of Of Arms and Men: A History of War, Weapons, and Aggression; Sacred Vessels: The Cult of the Battleship and the Rise of the U.S. Navy; Ride of the Second Horseman: The Birth and Death of War; Soul of the Sword: An Illustrated History of Weaponry and Warfare from Prehistory to the Present; and the novel Fast Eddie.
 
Published July 8, 2010 by Random House. 336 pages
Genres: History, War, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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On Aug. 2, 216 BCE, in southeastern Italy, a massive Roman army faced down a smaller, apparently weaker Carthaginian force led by Hannibal.

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The New York Times

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A history of the Battle of Cannae in 216 B.C., where Hannibal obliterated the Roman army.

Sep 03 2010 | Read Full Review of The Ghosts of Cannae: Hanniba...

Publishers Weekly

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Focusing chiefly on Hannibal and his Roman nemesis Scipio Africanus, he also awards proper consideration to Fabius Maximus, whose strategy of attrition and delay could have saved countless Roman lives.

May 03 2010 | Read Full Review of The Ghosts of Cannae: Hanniba...

Bookmarks Magazine

Finally, O’Connell reveals how Cannae’s legend has inspired and haunted military leaders ever since, and the lessons it teaches for our own wars.

Superbly researched and written with wit and erudition, The Ghosts of Cannae is the definitive account of a battle whose history continues to re...

Aug 16 2010 | Read Full Review of The Ghosts of Cannae: Hanniba...

David G. Schwartz

This book, by military historian Robert O’Connell, looks at the hows and also the whys of the battle of Cannae, one of the most conclusive–but ultimately least decisive–battles in Western history.

Jul 16 2010 | Read Full Review of The Ghosts of Cannae: Hanniba...

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