Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book Report 1/16/14

Completed Reading (nonfiction): Carthage Must be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Spoiler Alert: Carthage was destroyed. Hannibal’s 15 year adventure in Italy, however brilliantly conceived and executed, was not enough to prevent the destruction of Carthage and the rise of Rome.  He never really pressed his advantages there, and a Roman army’s conquest of Barcid Spain cut him off from resources and reinforcements. Recalled to North Africa to defend Carthage from another Roman Army (under the command of Publius Cornelius Scipio) Hannibal was defeated at the Battle of Zama, and Carthage was marginalized as a power in the Western Mediterranean. It survived until the 3rd Punic War, an event largely contrived by the Romans to justify the total destruction of a broken enemy that still gave them paranoid nightmares. But Carthage survived symbolically (and to an extent still does) as the one adversary that helped Rome define itself. For anyone interested in ancient history and the rise of Rome, this book is a good read, very accessible to the amateur historian and general population.

Currently Reading (fiction): The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson

Still slogging through this one. Spent more of my reading hours finishing off Carthage than Salander. These Dragon Tattoo books are all somewhat overwritten, much longer than they ever needed to be, but this one is the worst, since there seems to be so little happening here. Talking heads everywhere. Our investment in Salander is largely the result of the first two books, but even if I hadn't seen the movie there’s not much suspense regarding the outcome of the novel. I’ll continue to read. Once I've started a book it has to be quite bad or boring to not finish it.

On the Horizon (nonfiction): Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

I accidentally received this book through the Quality Paperback Book Club when I failed to decline one of their featured selections. But it looks interesting, so I decided to keep it. It is about LeDuff’s return to his hometown, and a chronicle of its decent from one of the wealthiest cities in America to one of the poorest. First Carthage, now Detroit. I guess I’m fascinated by stories about the destruction of great cities.

No comments:

Post a Comment