Louise's Reviews > Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership

Masters of Command by Barry S. Strauss
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Jul 26, 12

it was amazing
bookshelves: roman-history, leadership, biography, military-hist-policy
Read in July, 2012

Good analysis of the leadership qualities of the three great commanders of the ancient world. Strauss discusses each of their campaigns and the political environment in which they took place.

Strauss notes that all three had to go to war: Alexander needed a successful conquest to earn respect in the kingship he inherited; Caesar had too many enemies to distinguish himself in Rome; and Hannibal had limited career options in Carthage or Spain and perhaps none outside of the military. This makes you ponder how much of war is waged, throughout history to today, for career purposes.

While these commanders had brilliant careers, they had weaknesses and there were losses among their historic wins. Both Caesar and Alexander, who inspired incredible loyalty, experienced mutinies. Alexander didn't grasp the strategic importance of a navy. Hannibal had great tactics but, overall, poor strategy. One, among many interesting observations is that while all were great, none of them really ended their war(s) in a satisfactory way.

Military parts are written in a way the general reader can understand, which puts the focus on the discussion of leadership.
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