Top positive review
A Solid Work About A Solid Institution
Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2014
A great read for someone wishing to understand why the Roman Republic rose to power and why the Empire endured so long. The review of the makeup of a typical legion, covering the men, equipment, and tactics, and the provides one with a good basis from which to evaluate its ongoing effectiveness. The author also briefly covers the matching characteristics of the host of enemies Rome faced over the centuries. Together, this information provides the basis for understanding both the rise and subsequent decline of the legion.
Each of the main units that formed the Roman military machine is described reasonably well considering the large number of such formations and the 2,000 year gap between their existence and today. It is clear to a person somewhat versed in Roman history that the author has scoured all available contemporary and valid historical resources when compiling this history. Enough illustrations are provided to give a visual record of the evolution of the appearance of a legionnaire but a specific chapter, with more pics, devoted to this topic would have been a nice addition to the text and greatly improved the book's overall impact.
The battle record of the legions main actions is covered, sometimes in great detail for specific events. Again, Mr. Collins gives us everything extant from appropriate sources. Perhaps the main weakness of this work is the vague manner in which the changes in equipment and tactics of both Rome and its enemies led to the decline of the effectiveness of the legion as a fighting unit. Being a systems-oriented consultant, i would have liked to see a chronological, tabular presentation of these various factors. A picture is worth... !
All in all... a very good read..