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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  503 ratings  ·  72 reviews
One of the greatest commanders of the ancient world brought vividly to life: Hannibal, the brilliant general who successfully crossed the Alps with his war elephants and brought Rome to its knees.

Hannibal Barca of Carthage, born 247 BC, was one of the great generals of the ancient world. His father, Hamilcar, was also a great strategist and master tactician who imposed Car
Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published July 11th 2017 by Simon & Schuster
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Sherwood Smith
The thing about biographies of people in ancient times is that unless it's a translation (thus second-hand) anything we read now is going to be third, maybe fourth-hand, if the ancient source is relying on other sources. With that as a given, I still think it worthwhile to read books such as Hunt's since I don't know Greek or Latin.

It's especially worthwhile when the author, as Hunt does, tries to find all the sources, comparing and contrasting them, and also travels to the various sites to give
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want to know about Hannibal Barca, this is a good place to start. Patrick Hunt tells the story in accessible prose. As an archeologist, he is able to fill in some blanks of a scant paper trail from his visits to the landmark sites.

Hunt gives a sketch, and perhaps that is all that can be gathered. Hannibal was raised in the military life with his father Hamilcar, Carthage’s leading general. He experienced loss when his father drowned in battle. At age 26, when his brother (in-law) lost hi
Hannibal by Patrick N. Hunt, is an account of the Second Punic War from the perspective of Hannibal, as well as a brief biography of the great General's early life. Hannibal was born in the Barca family, a clan of Carthaginian military individuals who had experience in the First Punic War. The family was unhappy with losses in the First Punic War, where Carthage was required to relinquish their claims over Sicily, and Rome subsequently aggressively annexed Corsica and Sardinia - both within the ...more
Myke Cole
A solid, but unspectacular entry into the literature that documents Hannibal's life. The prose is good, and Hunt has some skill as a storyteller who can engage. There's just nothing really outstanding or original here that recommends this over any other book on Hannibal, and you're probably going to get more out of less specific books (Like O'Connell's Ghosts of Cannae), that cover the same subject matter.

The book's main failing is that it purports to be a *biography* of Hannibal, and it just pl
Mark Noce
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic read for anyone interested in history, Hannibal, and the Punic Wars. I particularly enjoyed the attention to detail regarding topography, the numbers and background of the troops involved in various campaigns, and the overarching social history as Punic and Roman civilizations clashed throughout the narrative. This book does an excellent job of peeling back some of the hidden layers on Hannibal himself, a truly enigmatic character who would’ve stood out as an extraordinary individual ...more
Donna Davis
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those with a strong interest in military history or world history
Hannibal was the first general to defeat the forces of Rome, and Hunt is the man qualified to tell us about it. I read my copy free and early thanks to Net Galley and Simon and Schuster. This book becomes available to the public July 11, 2017.

Early history has never been my area of concentration, but since retirement, I push myself out of my usual comfort zone, often to excellent result. This time it proved to be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, Hunt is unquestionably qualified to discuss this
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
RTC what a great book ! I really need to catch up on my reviews ;)
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-biography
This is a good history for people who don't know a lot about the topic already. I feel I can say this from a position of authority because, when I started this book, my knowledge began and ended with the fact that this was that guy who brought elephants with this army over the Alps in the far distant past. I couldn't even have made a decent guess about when Hannibal lived.

Now I know that he arrived at a time when, in retrospect, Carthage's decline seemed irreversible. Although Hannibal had shaky
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hannibal Barca is regarded as one of the great military commanders of the Western world, a status which is a little surprising considering that he never actually defeated his great opponent Rome in a war. Part of this honor is undoubtedly due to his success in battle, as in a succession of victories his outnumbered forces defeated the Roman legions sent out to destroy them. Yet Patrick Hunt's new biography of the Carthaginian general points to another reason why he holds such an exalted status, ...more
David Andrews
Patrick N. Hunt’s recounting of the life and campaigns of Hannibal is the most comprehensive I’ve read to date. Hunt does well with consolidating various accounts into one main through-line of narrative, without sacrificing accuracy or detail. Hannibal is one of the ancient world’s most compelling figures, easily in the same class as figures like Alexander, Caesar, and his opponent Scipio. However, most tellings of the story of Hannibal view him strictly as a force of nature against which Rome w ...more
David Lang
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read many biographies dealing with the ancients, and Patrick Hunt’s study of Hannibal rates with the best of them. It is informative and entertaining but more importantly, it is thought provoking.

Hunt covers the basics of Hannibal’s life, weaving in the information found in various ancient sources with his own quite intelligent speculation about Hannibal’s character and motivation. Hunt’s discussions of the major battles are especially illuminating, covering not only troop movements but
Erik Graff
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hannibal fans
Recommended to Erik by: Kelly Kingdon
Shelves: biography
This biography of Hannibal is almost entirely about his military campaigns, those being the events for which there are accounts. These accounts are Roman. One might therefore entitle it 'Hannibal as Military Commander', so little do we know about his personal life.

Author Hunt details the campaigns, the marches and battles, well enough, supplementing available accounts with learned speculation. What he doesn't do is provide much background about the tactics and exigencies of ancient warfare. Some
patrick Lorelli
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patrick Hunt goes into a through history of the life and military history of the famous Carthage leader Hannibal. He begins with his father and how he was taught military tactics, and also take care of the people that his family was in charge of. He then leads you through some of his father’s battles up to his death and when Hannibal takes over. He would then lead Carthage in what would be called the second Punic War. The author takes you through his journey through the Alps with elephants and t ...more
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are not an academic (as I am not), this is a good biography of Hannibal to pick up. It's very short and to the point. But even at its short length, there seems to be a lot that can't be determined based upon the apparently spotty historical/archaeological record. Thankfully, Hunt is pretty open about where he is speculating, and he acknowledges throughout when he has his concerns about the reliability or veracity of some of the early sources (in particular, he prefers Polybius over Livy). ...more
Chad Brady
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A insightful look at possibly one of histories greatest generals. Hannibal quite possibly shaped the Roman tactics and the battle strategies that shaped a future empire!
Celia Cunningham
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One-eyed guy from Carthage riding elephants through the Alps attacking Romans- why don't more people talk about Hannibal Barca? ...more
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.
I wanted to love this book. Instead, I liked it. Patrick N. Hunt is extremely knowledgeable and his expertise shines through. There were moments that were brilliant, particularly early on in the chapters about Hannibal's youth and crossing the Alps. He also did an excellent job illustrating the scope of the violence between Hannibal and the Romans.
Where I had a more difficult time was with the long period of
Andrew Dockrill
Hannibal Barca

This was an extremely easy, casual and accessible read. I adore Hannibal, he is probably one of my favorite historical figures. I had recently wrote two uni papers on Hannibal as a tactician and really enjoyed reliving his more prominent battles of Ticino, Trebia, Lake Trasimene and Cannae. In all three of his last victorious battles I really enjoyed the authors take on them, explaining just how smart Hannibal really was and how the Romans came to see him as using environmental wa
David Hensler
“The plain began to fill with pools of Roman blood.”

Hannibal is best known for his daring trek that led his army (elephants and all) over the Alps to march on Rome. It’s a staggering feat, but one that cost him tremendously (nearly half his force of 45,000+ men died in the journey). That kind of drive gives you a real sense of the man, who could inspire thousands to march with him to their deaths. Even more so: the man who could inspire the survivors to keep marching on into war.

What I found mor
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've taken two or three of Patrick Hunt's classes, including one on Hannibal. So I was eager to read this book when I heard about it. His enthusiasm for his subject clearly comes through, and he is thoroughly knowledgeable, having visited several of the key sites in the story and investigated Hannibal's most likely route through the Alps.

The book is thoroughly but unobstrusively footnoted. And it's well balanced. Hannibal's genius on the battlefield has been well documented, but Hunt also stress
Casey Wheeler
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a free Kindle copy of Hannibal by Patrick N. Hunt courtesy of Net Galley and Simon & Schuster, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as I heard a great deal about Hannibal Barca and saw the movie from several years ago, but had not really read anything about him. It is the fi
Daniel Ligon
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley, biography
An excellent biography of a fascinating man! Hannibal's life has always interested me, but I've read very little about him. This book does a great job in bringing the ancient military titan to life. One of the difficulties in studying ancient history is the fact that sources are both limited and contradictory. Author Patrick Hunt does a great job of piecing together the ancient source materials to construct his narrative. Hunt had to fill in many of the gaps himself when discussing Hannibal's pe ...more
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book! Hunt is not only a historian, but also an archaeologist, and has personally travelled to just about every location that Hannibal ever visited, including Hannibal's route through the Alps. His exact route is, surprisingly, not known for sure, but Hunt assumes a likely route based on the available evidence. However, although the book was published in 2017, discoveries within the past year may prove his choice of route wrong. Nonetheless, the book is exhaustively researched (and foo ...more
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Good biography of Hannibal. Very interesting historical figure. I wish he had put in the introduction more about the lack of sources and that he was presenting the best understanding currently of Hannibal, instead of interspersing this and his “thoughts” throughout the narrative. I also wish he had either done more or less with the historiography - it also seemed to be thrown in randomly throughout. Finally, there were some contradictions which may have come out of some of the guesswork that com ...more
John Devlin
A great primer on the General Hannibal.

Not much adornment, just a strong recitation of what’s known, what’s probable, and what’s unlikely of the man who defeated the Romans again and again.

Hunt makes the claim that I’ve longed agreed with that what separates the Romans from other groups was their simple tenacity. Other countries when defeated in places like Trebia or Cannae, as they were by Hannibal would have been done. Not Rome.

Hannibal was defeated by the Roman unwillingness to surrender, a h
Mujtaba  Nadeem
This was definitely a well written book and most importantly didn't get bogged down excessively in the details but at the same time, the writing through some of the battles and traveling made me wanting to skip a few pages or skim here and there.

I don't like doing that but time is precious. Ultimately after finishing it I realized the real meat of the book is in a handful of chapters and it could be shortened down even further but I understand that this was intended to be a biography that cover
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a biography of Hannibal Barca and it is very much like many other biographies of Hannibal.

The primary strength of this account is that Patrick Hunt is clearly an expert who has spent most of his life studying the Second Punic War. He spends much of the book contrasting the different sources on events in Hannibal's life and rendering his expert opinion on what most likely happened.

The weakness of this book is that it is only a biography of Hannibal and the narrative doesn't stray to far
Gary Brecht
Relying principally upon two Roman historians, Patrick Hunt recounts the life and achievements of the great Carthaginian general, Hannibal. The general’s victories and defeats are discussed in detail as well as the political consequences of each battle.

This is an unembellished narrative fortified by abundant footnotes and copious supplementary research. As such, it should assure readers that even though glimpsed through the opaque lenses of time, what we learn about this fascinating conqueror m
Tim Fawcett
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Patrick N Hunt is a brilliant researcher. I perused his website, so was confident that his work on Hannibal would be credible— a subject that has fascinated me. Several things struck me:
1. Hannibal’s incorporation of geography and meteorology into tactics (Lake Trasimene)
2. The length of his military campaign and the logistics required
3. What would have happened had Hannibal pursued what was left of his opposition into Rome following Cannae?
4. Halfhearted support at home leads to doom abroad
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magnificent biography of Hannibal.

Hannibal Barca of Carthage (today’s Tunisia) was one of the greatest and most successful military leaders of all time. His battle strategies have been studied for over 2,000 years and his military influence cannot be overstated. He is considered a military genius and his tactics are still discussed/dissected today in such places as the U.S. War College.

His numerous military victories against Rome are legendary and his name was used to strike fear into the heart
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“Historians estimate more dead soldiers at Cannae than in any other day of battle in Western History, and that 30,000 gallons of blood were spilled in that one day.41” 0 likes
“Polibijus pasakoja, kad Hanibalo kariuomenė po pirmosios pasalos žygiavo toliau. Ketvirtos dienos pavakary prie jų prisiartino klastingi keltai su dovanomis ir vainikais kaip taikos ženklu. Keltai pasakė, kad yra girdėję, kaip buvo pažeminti aloborgai. Jų vyresnysis netgi pasiūlė galvijų ir belaisvių, tačiau buvo matyti, kad keltai paslapčia jau galando ietis ir laukė tinkamos progos užpulti kartaginiečius. Kaip rašo Polibijus, Hanibalas neabejojo, kad keltai kažką rezga, todėl buvo labai atsargus. Nenuoširdus ir keistas keltų elgesys kėlė įtarimų, tad karvedys nusprendė pasikliauti savo instinktais.” 0 likes
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