Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Review -- Marching With Caesar

Hello All,

Today I have, the review of  Marching with Caesar, conquest of Guals by R. W. Peake. Here we go:

      The book relives the days of Titus Pullus in 10th Legion of Caesar, who after 40 years in the Legions retired as Camp Prefect. The book, records momentous events from the eye of an ambitious, capable yet surprisingly young Gregarius (soldier) as he rises among the ranks to become Primus Pilus in a short span of 10 years showing us a lot about the Roman society in those days, the senate, the Caesar, the Gaulic tribes, the Briton and its fighting style, the spirits of Legionaries under Caesar, Caesar's engineering feats and guts, glory, discipline and lifestyle of legions.

     The book does a good job, of capturing the attention of young men and military enthusiasts alike. The book shows a lot about Titus Pullus and his life, about the training in the legions, about getting smacked by Vitus (a kind of stick), the cursing, the gods of roman legions and values in society, the importance of standards in an army, the intricate details about fighting positions, the marching formations, the camp fortification details, the fierce one to one battles, the relationship between tent mates and much more.

     The book also gives loads and loads of details on the enemy, his tactics, their gods, their way of life, their leaders, their courage, their way of fighting, their pitfalls and why might of Roman legions is always victorious. One must turn the pages of marching with Caesar, to learn about how Romans conducted a seize, how Romans make allies and enemies, how are allies and enemies treated, how cavalry is used, how day to day activities of camp are taken care of, how gambling, gossip, excessive pride, vices, illness and boredom take a toll in the legions and so on. There is a small amount of cursing, slang and such to truly impress me.

    The book, doesn't speak about battle alone and legions alone. It speaks about aftermath of battle, burying the dead, how heart wrecking it could be to see a mighty friend go down to a foe, how officers are made, how the battle wagons move, how communities are built around an army camp, how women are taken as wives in all but not name,  how relations between legionaries and their loved ones are strained, how legionaries get rich, how they see a hope for future, how years of fighting, killing and getting killed change the heart of young men who join the legions.

    In simple words I liked the book a lot. Though, at times I got bored learning the names and whereabouts of Gaulic tribes and their chieftains. A few details, I felt, were unnecessary at-least to me like what was happening to Caesar, how political enemies of Caesar wanted to destroy him and so on. The book ends on happy note, with the birth of son to Titus, who is named Vibus and never stops amazing Titus with the amount of CAC he generates.

with warm regards
Abhishek Boinapalli


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