My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Review: Ancient Battle Formations

Ancient Battle Formations Ancient Battle Formations by Justin Swanton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Being a war gamer and casual student of strategy and tactics, I was really looking forward to reading this book. The first half of the book dives into the phalanx formations with a significant amount of historical exegesis combined with a fair amount of practical examination of the science/rationale behind them. The author inserts numerous references to historical descriptions of how these formations where reported used in famous battles to support his various hypotheses. While I had a good working knowledge of the over-all battle field strategies from this time period, I was a little fuzzy of the how the individual within the formation actually contributed to the battle. This book pretty much covers this in exhausting detail ... I must admit that I did not completely understand why these formations were so consistant before ... however, at times I still found myself skimming the detailed battle descriptions. One new detail that I learned was how the shield design facilitates or impedes a shield push before. Unfortunately we don't get the same detail for the non-Infantry formations (chariots and cavalry), either because the book is already big enough or because we don't have enough information to fully examine or compare various hypotheses.

This book is a solid, if somewhat narrow, reference book and highly recommended for anyone interested in historical warfare.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#AncientBattleFormations #NetGalley

View all my reviews

No comments:

My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.