"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Sunday, December 23, 2018

CARTHAGE MUST BE DESTROYED: THE RISE and FALL of an ANCIENT CIVILIZATION (audiobook) by Richard Miles



Published in 2011 by Gildan Media, LLC.
Read by Grover Gardner.
Duration: 14 hours, 9 minutes.
Unabridged.


Carthage has forever been relegated to the second fiddle of the Ancient Mediterranean world - the last power to offer the Roman Republic any sort of serious threat. The also-ran that could have been what Rome became...if only.

But, unlike Rome, no one seems to know much about Carthage except for that they were a sea power, they had battle elephants and Hannibal crossed the Alps leading them in a war against Rome.

Dr. Miles' effort is a bit hamstrung from the lack of original sources from Carthage itself - it was looted and destroyed at the end of the Third Punic War. But, he is able to reconstruct a history based on the writings of other countries, including such sources as the Bible, Greek and Roman histories, temples, changes in religious thought architecture and coinage. 


I do appreciate how difficult this must have been, but this book often gets bogged down in multiple long discussions of the coinage (what is on the heads side, what is on the tails side, where the coins were minted, what their exact metallic content was) and other topics that are meant to be supporting of the main story but not the main story itself. I mean, it was like clockwork - 45 minutes has passed, it's time for another extended coinage discussion.

To be frank, the problem with this book is that it simply had no flow. It was often sidetracked into areas that padded its length without adding any additional understanding. It read like an academic text - like one of those textbooks that you HAD to read in school, not like a book that made you want to keep on reading it. I learned a lot, but it was a chore. Too bad, because I picked this one up because I was truly intrigued by the topic.

Award winning audiobook reader Grover Gardner read this audiobook. I generally like Gardner's work, but I was not fond of his folksy style with the academic style of the text. It clearly wasn't a deal breaker since I finished all 14 hours of the book, but I don't think it was a great editorial choice by the producer(s) of the audiobook.

I rate this audiobook 2 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: CARTHAGE MUST BE DESTROYED: THE RISE and FALL of an ANCIENT CIVILIZATION by Richard Miles.

2 comments:

  1. That's too bad this turned out to be a bit on the tedious side, since I too am a history buff, especially concerning ancient history and the Roman Empire, and would've liked to learn more about the utterly annihilated city of Carthage beyond what little we know (like you said, the one reference that everyone knows is about Hannibal and his elephants!), but there's nothing worse than a history book that's so dry that it makes it more of a chore to read than a pleasure to learn about living history that was actually quite dramatic, bloody and interesting, if only it can be conveyed that effectively to the modern reader, more people would be into learning about these unknown and distant civilizations that sadly have fallen away into obscurity. I think I'll pass on this one and wait for hopefully a better one on the same subject to come out!

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  2. Nice job, DWD. I am an audiobook lover and would choose that format first for most reads, but have discovered that audio isn't my favorite for history (or most non-fiction, actually). I found your review on Goodreads and followed it here. I will definitely be adding your site to my list of review blogs to follow. Thanks!

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