July 2022 MBR Review The World History Shelf

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Aug 1, 2022, 2:10:22 PMAug 1
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The World History Shelf

The Rise of Persia and the First Greco-Persian Wars
Manousos E. Kambouris
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781399093293, $42.95, HC, 240pp

https://www.amazon.com/Rise-Persia-First-Greco-Persian-Wars/dp/1399093290

Synopsis: With the publication of "The Rise of Persia and the First Greco-Persian Wars: The Expansion of the Achaemenid Empire and the Battle of Marathon", historian Manousos Kambouris revisits the epic events of the first Greco-Persian War and the Persian invasion of Greece.

Kambouris provides details on the Persian perspective and sets the war in the context of the rise of Achaemenid Persia as the superpower of the day and the expansion of their empire into Europe. After relating the earlier Persian campaigns in Europe he shows how the Ionian Revolt, by the Greeks of Asia Minor already under Persian rule, was instrumental. Darius I, the Persian King of Kings ordered the invasion of Greece ostensibly to punish the Greeks, and more specifically the Athenians, for their support of the Revolt and to contain further insurgencies but in truth to achieve god-ordained world dominance.

Describing the invasion in great detail, Kambouris also analyses the king's immense (even if occasionally exaggerated) army, considering its composition and logistical constraints. The campaign leading to Marathon and the decisive battle itself are then clearly narrated. Manousos Kambouris' meticulous research brings fresh insights to this timeless tale of defiance of the odds and victory for the underdog.

Critique: Featuring impressive illustrations, "The Rise of Persia and the First Greco-Persian Wars: The Expansion of the Achaemenid Empire and the Battle of Marathon" is enhanced for academia with the inclusion of an Introduction (A True Cultural World War), and Epilogue (Normality Resumed), an eight page Bibliography, and a four page Index. As fascinating as it is informative, "The Rise of Persia and the First Greco-Persian Wars: The Expansion of the Achaemenid Empire and the Battle of Marathon" is an invaluable and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Hellenic History and Ancient Greek Military History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Rise of Persia and the First Greco-Persian Wars: The Expansion of the Achaemenid Empire and the Battle of Marathon" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.99).

Editorial Note: Manousos E Kambouris has a background in scientific writing, contributing chapters on a wide range of disciplines to various edited volumes and journals. He has been researching Ancient Greek warfare for many years and has published numerous articles in 'Archeologija Prirodne Na' (Archaeology and Science), 'Ancient Warfare', 'Military History', 'War & History', 'Nuova Antologia Militare', 'Third Eye' and 'Hellenic Nexus'. He has written three previous books on Marathon, Salamis and Xenophon's Ten Thousand. For the past 8 years he has been an historical consultant to the experimental archaeology group Koryvantes, the Association of Historical Studies.

Religion & Classical Warfare: The Roman Empire
Matthew Dillon, editor
Christopher Matthew, editor
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781473834309, $49.95, HC, 384pp

https://www.amazon.com/Religion-Classical-Warfare-Roman-Empire/dp/1473834309

Synopsis: Religion was integral to the conduct of war in the ancient world and the Romans were no exception. No campaign was undertaken, no battle risked, without first making sacrifice to propitiate the appropriate gods (such as Mars, god of War) or consulting oracles and omens to divine their plans. Yet the link between war and religion is an area that has been regularly overlooked by modern scholars examining the conflicts of these times.

Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by academicians Matthew Dillon and Christopher Matthew, "Religion & Classical Warfare: The Roman Empire" directly addresses that omission by drawing together the work of diverse experts from across the globe. The chapters have been carefully structured by the editors so that this wide array of scholarship combines to give a coherent, comprehensive study of the role of religion in the wars of the Roman Empire.

Aspects considered in depth include: the Imperial cults and legionary loyalty; the army and religious/regional disputes; Trajan and religion; Constantine and Christianity; omens and portents; funerary cults and practices; the cult of Mithras; the Imperial sacramentum; religion & Imperial military medicine.

Critique: Enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a list of Abbreviations, a listing of the contributors and their credentials, figures, illustrations, and an eight page Index, "Religion & Classical Warfare: The Roman Empire" is an extraordinary, unique, and informative contribution to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Roman Religion, and Military History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Religion & Classical Warfare: The Roman Empire" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.49).

Editorial Note #1: Dr Matthew Dillon is Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of New England, New South Wales, Australia. His previous works include The Ancient Greeks in their own Words (2002).

Editorial Note #2: Christopher Matthew has just completed his doctoral thesis on hoplite warfare at MacQuarie University in Sydney, where one of his assessors has said he 'singlehandedly advanced the whole field'. He has also been invited to lecture on the subject at other Australian universities. This book is closely based on his doctoral thesis.

The Roman Empire in Crisis, 248-260
Paul N. Pearson
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781399090971, $42.95, HC, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Roman-Empire-Crisis-248-260-Abandoned/dp/1399090976

Synopsis: With the publication of "The Roman Empire in Crisis, 248-260: When the Gods Abandoned Rome", British historian Paul N. Pearson provides a narrative history of a dozen years of turmoil that begins with Rome's millennium celebrations of 248 CE and ends with the capture of the emperor Valerian by the Persians in 260.

This was a period of almost unremitting disaster for Rome, involving a series of civil wars, several major invasions by Goths and Persians, economic crisis, and an empire-wide pandemic, the 'plague of Cyprian'. There was also a sustained persecution of the Christians.

A central theme of "The Roman Empire in Crisis, 248-260" is that this was a period of moral and spiritual crisis in which the traditional state religion suffered greatly in prestige, paving the way for the eventual triumph of Christianity.

The sensational recent discovery of extensive fragments of the lost Scythica of Dexippus sheds much new light on the Gothic Wars of the period. Author and historian Paul Pearson has utilized this new evidence in combination with in-depth investigations in the field to develop a revised account of events surrounding the great Battle of Abritus where the army of the emperor Decius was annihilated by Cniva's Goths. New light is shed on a period which is pivotal for understanding the transition between Classical civilization and the period known as Late Antiquity.

Critique: Simply stated, no personal, community, or academic library Roman History collection can be considered up to date without the inclusion of Paul N. Pearson's "The Roman Empire in Crisis, 248-260: When the Gods Abandoned Rome". A masterpiece of original scholarship, this informed and informative study is enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of plates, maps, a Prologue (Millennium), an Epilogue (Rome Abandons the Gods), a nineteen page listing of Cited Literature, thirty-nine pages of Notes, and a seventeen page Index. It should be noted for students, academics, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in Roman History that "The Roman Empire in Crisis, 248-260: When the Gods Abandoned Rome" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.99).

Editorial Note: Paul N. Pearson is Honorary Professor of Geology at Cardiff University and has a long-held passion for Roman history. He has written numerous peer-reviewed articles and is the author of the highly praised 'Maximinus Thrax: from Common Soldier to Emperor of Rome' (Pen & Sword, 2016).

Roman Empire at War
Don Taylor
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781473869080, $34.99, HC, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Roman-Empire-War-Compendium-D/dp/1473869080

Synopsis: With the publication of "Roman Empire at War: A Compendium of Roman Battles from 31 B.C. to A.D. 565", Professor Don Taylor catalogues and offers a brief description of every significant battle fought by the Roman Empire from Augustus to Justinian I (and most of the minor ones too).

The information in each entry is drawn exclusively from Ancient, Late Antique, and Early Medieval texts, in order to offer a brief description of each battle based solely on the information provided by the earliest surviving sources which chronicle the event. This approach provides the reader a concise foundation of information to which they can then confidently apply later scholarly interpretation presented in secondary sources in order to achieve a more accurate understanding of the most likely battlefield scenario.

In writing the battle descriptions, Professor Taylor has not sought analyze the evidence contained in the surviving accounts, nor embellish them beyond that which was necessary to provide clarity to the modern reader. He allows the original writers to speak for themselves, presenting the reader with a succinct version of what the ancient chroniclers tell us of these dramatic events.

"Roman Empire at War: A Compendium of Roman Battles from 31 B.C. to A.D. 565" is an excellent first-stop reference to the many battles of the Roman Empire.

Critique: Impressively informative and a welcome contribution to the growing library of Roman Military Histories, "Roman Empire at War: A Compendium of Roman Battles from 31 B.C. to A.D. 565" is particularly recommended to both academia and the non-specialist general reader. An exceptionally well organized and presented volume, it should be noted that "Roman Empire at War: A Compendium of Roman Battles from 31 B.C. to A.D. 565" is also available for personal reading lists in a paperback edition (9781399085205, $26.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Editorial Note: Dr. Don Taylor holds a PhD in European History with a concentration in Ancient Mediterranean Studies from Fulbright College of the University of Arkansas (USA). Since 1995 he has served as a university professor in European and Ancient History at Hardin-Simmons University, Texas and he has published and/or lectured on various topics of Greek and Roman history.

The Hitler Assassination Attempts
John Grehan
Frontline Books
c/o Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781399018906, $34.95, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hitler-Assassination-Attempts-Changed-History/dp/1399018906

Synopsis: Throughout his political career, Adolf Hitler was the subject of numerous assassination plots, some of which were attempted, all of which failed. While a few of these have become well known, particularly the bomb explosions at the Burgerbraukeller in Munich in 1939 and the Stauffenberg Valkyrie attempt carried out at the Wolfsschanze on 20 July 1944, many others have received far less attention - until now.

With the publication of "The Hitler Assassination Attempts: The Plots, Places and People that Almost Changed History", historian John Grehan reveals all of the known planned or proposed assassination attempts on Hitler, ranging from Chicago to London and from Sweden to the Ukraine. Some of these plots have not previously been presented to the general public by historians.

All manner of methods were proposed by those willing to bring Hitler's life to a premature end and Hitler was well aware of the danger which lurked potentially around every corner of every road, railway track, every building and even every individual. As a result, an immense, multi-layered security apparatus surrounded the Fuhrer day and night. Despite this, and knowing the risks they faced, many people sought to kill the German leader, and some very nearly did. Yet Hitler survived, often by just a minute or a millimeter, only to finally die at his own hand.

These plots and conspiracies are detailed and documented in "The Hitler Assassination Attempts", along with a unique collection of photographs of many of the proposed or actual assassination locations. All will be revealed in this fascinating compilation of the obscure, the fanciful and the carefully considered attempts to assassinate Hitler.

Critique: An invaluable and unique contribution to the growing library of World War II histories and biographies, "The Hitler Assassination Attempts: The Plots, Places and People that Almost Changed History" is an extraordinarily informative and innately fascinating read. A choice and recommended addition to personal, community, college, and university library World War II collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, military history buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Hitler Assassination Attempts: The Plots, Places and People that Almost Changed History" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note: John Grehan has written, edited or contributed to more than 300 books and magazine articles covering a wide span of military history from the Iron Age to the recent conflict in Afghanistan. John has also appeared on local and national radio and television to advise on military history topics. He was employed as the Assistant Editor of Britain at War Magazine from its inception until 2014.

EDITOR'S NOTE:

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Midwest Book Review
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