Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2009
I really wanted to like this book! I like the era, and the subject. I read the reviews, several from each of the star ratings, and finally decided to buy it.

I waited for several weeks for it to arrive, as I am currently living in China, and had my father ship it to me. When it finally did, I dove in.

What I found really left me wanting. This book was compared to Keegan's "The Face of Battle," but I have to say that is a poor comparison in my eyes. I kept waiting for it to get better and it never did.

What was I waiting for? I was waiting for it to give me an idea of what it was like to fight during that time, how it felt to be in a phalanx! What it instead provided me was passages with no feelings at all. It contained a lot of references to ancient accounts, and how various surviving artworks presented battle. A lot of the same material seemed to be presented over and over. The number of times it talked about the members of a phalanx were usually part of the same tribe, family, city, town, etc, was incredible. This along with how the strongest and most experienced men were put on the right side of the phalanx to help prevent drift, as everyone moved to be protected by the shield of the man on their right. There were times that I wondered if my wife had accidentally dropped my book and put my bookmark into a place I had already read, because even some of the sentences seemed the same, only to find that no, it wasn't that, it was just another rehash of the the material with a slight twist.

I did learn a few things, since I hadn't studied any of the ancient battle accounts, and there was something to be learned in each chapter, but it definitely wasn't a good read and I found myself dreading to pick it up. In the end it was a boring account, that droned on without the slightest bit of emotion or power. In my opinion the book could have easily been written in 1/4 the space or less, and offered the same insights.

I wasn't impressed and I was so let down that I decided to let others know by writing a review. I am glad that people like it so much, but unfortunately is wasn't for me.
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