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Hannibal: The General from Carthage

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  162 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A scrupulous, astutely evaluative account of Rome's greatest foe: the Carthaginian general who became master of "well-nigh the whole of Italy" (Livy) but couldn't hold it down. Bradford (Nelson, The Shield & the Sword etc) necessarily draws on Polybius & Livy for much of his story--Hannibal's desire to avenge Carthage for Roman high-handedness at the close of the 1 ...more
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published 1991 by Marboro Books/Dorset Press (NY) (first published November 30th 1980)
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Esteban del Mal
May 08, 2010 Esteban del Mal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those with an interest in classical history
Hannibal ad portas!

Translation from Latin, "Hannibal is at the gates!" An expression used by Roman parents to frighten their children into obedience.


Hannibal was born six years before the end of the First Punic War to a distinguished Carthaginian family, the Barcas (a name that means "Thunderbolt" in the Punic tongue). The first Punic War is a war which saw the mercantile city Carthage humbled by the fledgling Roman Republic for control of the northern and western Mediterranean. The year of
Sean Chick
Jan 15, 2017 Sean Chick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A relatively easy and thoughtful account of Hannibal's life, dominated as it is by his failed war against Rome. The book is full of pathos and tragedy, but also shades of gray. One thing I gleamed is that Hannibal's army, by living off the land (looting), discouraged people from abandoning Rome. Napoleon had similar problems with his army. Hannibal's army was in essence a massive raiding party able to win great victories.
May 21, 2008 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classical
This is the best biography of Rome's greatest antagonist, to date. Bradford is a vital companion to Livy in understanding the Punic Wars, through the eyes of its great champion.
Leroy Erickson
Nov 24, 2016 Leroy Erickson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
If you are interested in ancient history, you might be interested in this very good biography of Hannibal. It tells about his time in Spain, his march over the Alps into Italy, the details of all of his time in Italy, his return to Carthage, and a very brief recounting of his later years. The author doesn't attempt to hide the fact that he has pulled all of his details from previous historians. In fact, he in many cases tells which source he used and why he chose the source that he did when mult ...more
Louis C Smith
Nov 10, 2016 Louis C Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely well written exposition of a brilliant warrior who was conceptually not prepared for his military successes.
Erik Graff
May 08, 2010 Erik Graff rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Punic War fans, Roman Republic fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
After the only Loyola University Chicago graduation I ever attended (not my own), I picked up a discounted computer game based on the Punic Wars at a downtown Chicago software store. When, a few months later, I was laid off after fourteen years there, I, too depressed to do much else, played the stupid game again and again. This and the nagging shame of knowing a lot of Roman imperial history, but virtually no history of the Republican period, got me to pick up Bradford's biography of Hannibal a ...more
Jun 24, 2016 Karen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
* Top 10 Greatest Leaders of All Time

The Leader: Hannibal Barca

Though Carthage eventually lost the Punic Wars, Hannibal still managed to defeat a Roman army twice the size of his. Known today as Rome’s greatest enemy, Carthage’s military leader continued to survive in enemy territory for 15 years. But what people really remember is that he traversed the Pyrenees and Alps with a cavalry that included war elephants. Yes, pachyderms. His tale of endurance and fortitude in Ernle Bradford’s Hannibal
Pretty good biography of a fascinating figure. Author only uses Roman sources, but tries his best to balance their interpretations. Could have used a little more detail with the famous battles (and some better maps) but still a fairly interesting book.
Oct 30, 2016 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable window into ancient history

The author paints this period of ancient history vividly. You won't find overarching themes or insights that leave you with any sense of wonderment. But you will have enjoyed a well written readable story.
Mark Dunstan
Aug 18, 2011 Mark Dunstan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient-history
An excellent book that was the introduction to Hannibal and the Second Punic War for me, and led to my deeper study of the general and wars between Rome and Carthage.
Mar 27, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable and engaging look into the man behind a name that I had often heard, but had little previous insight into.
Aug 02, 2011 Ahmad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ernie Bradford manages to show the human side of one of history's greatest generals as well as a concise account of his major battles.

I loved the beginning and the ending even more.
Richard Cubitt
Nov 18, 2015 Richard Cubitt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent overview. Not that much detail.
Neil Munday
Jan 11, 2014 Neil Munday rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A glimpse into the well of a man, a master strategist.
Apr 25, 2014 Steph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative read about an amazing ancient military leader. Didn't provide quite the human social perspective I was hoping for, but still a good read.
Apr 23, 2013 Dr. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
A well written and short history of the Second Punic War.
Aug 03, 2011 Lorraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lorraine by: Virgil
A good history - very interesting view of warfare.
Sep 12, 2011 Carl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, keeps your attention.
Daniel rated it liked it
Sep 02, 2012
Zachary Harless
Zachary Harless rated it it was amazing
Jun 22, 2015
Mark Mazelli
Mark Mazelli rated it really liked it
Mar 14, 2017
Elliott rated it it was amazing
Mar 06, 2012
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Feb 21, 2009
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Apr 29, 2014
Rikki Dyson
Rikki Dyson rated it it was amazing
Jan 27, 2017
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Sep 05, 2015
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Mar 22, 2017
Mick Scheinin
Mick Scheinin rated it liked it
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Ernle Dusgate Selby Bradford was a noted British historian specializing in the Mediterranean world and naval topics. Bradford was an enthusiastic sailor himself and spent almost thirty years sailing the Mediterranean, where many of his books are set. He served in the Royal Navy during World War II, finishing as the first Lieutenant of a destroyer. He did occasional broadcast work for the BBC, was ...more
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“It is even more curious that none of those later commentators on Hannibal (including Livy) ever found anything scandalous to say about his private life. Julius Caesar, Octavian Augustus, Tiberius, and almost all other Roman rulers of distinction are commonly accused of drunkenness, adultery, fornication, sodomy, or sadism, and the unfortunate Tiberius of almost every aberration that can be found in the textbooks of sexual pathology. The writers of antiquity, in fact, who managed to find some more or less scandalous anecdotes about nearly all the great men in their history, found themselves baffled when it came to Hannibal.” 0 likes
“The centurions were the backbone of the legions, professional long-service soldiers who took the name of Rome from India to Scotland—the finest N.C.O.s in history.” 0 likes
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