The Global Seven Years War by Daniel A. Baugh (2011)

(This long book is part of the Routledge ‘Modern Wars in Perspective’ series. Since some of the wars date back to 1460 you have to query the definition of ‘modern’.) Although an American, the author, Daniel A. Baugh, is a distinguished historian of the British Royal Navy from the Restoration to the mid-Victorian era. In […]

The Civil War by Julius Caesar – 1

Fortune, which has great influence in affairs generally and especially in war, produces by a slight disturbance of balance important changes in human affairs. (The Civil War Book 3 chapter 68) I picked up this 1967 Penguin paperback of Julius Caesar’s Civil Wars, translated by Jane Gardner, in the sensible A format size (18 cm […]

The Gallic War by Julius Caesar – 3

It is nearly always invisible dangers which are most terrifying. (VII.84) This second half of the Gallic Wars is much more exciting than the first. In the previous four books the Romans steamrollered over everyone they encountered in a rather monotonous way. Here they experience the catastrophic loss of an entire legion and then the […]

The Gallic War by Julius Caesar – 2

Propaganda The fundamental thing to grasp about Caesar’s Gallic Wars is that they were not at all what we think of as ‘history’. The Latin word he uses was commentarii which, apparently, means something like ‘report’. Each of the 7 ‘books’ whuch make up the Gallic Wars covers one of the years when he campaigned in Gaul […]

The Gallic War by Julius Caesar – 1

I’d just bought the Oxford University Press edition of Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars off Amazon when I walked into my local charity shop and found the old Penguin edition going second-hand for £2. So I snapped it up and am now reading the two editions interchangeably. The OUP edition (1996) The OUP edition (1996) is translated […]

Plutarch’s lives of Marius and Sulla (translated by Rex Warner)

Now the generals of this later period were men who had risen to the top by violence rather than by merit; they needed armies to fight against one another rather than against the public enemy. (Doleful reflections of the Amphictyons of Delphi upon being ordered to hand over all their treasure to the Roman general […]

Cataline’s War by Sallust (42 BC)

Cataline’s War As far as we know this was the first of Sallust’s historical works, written in 42 BC (maybe). It’s shorter than The Jugurthine War, with 61 brief ‘chapters’, apart from the two longer chapters containing the famous speeches to the Senate of Julius Caesar and Cato the Younger (51 and 52). Summary (Chapters […]

Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain 1945 to 1965 @ the Barbican

Layout The Barbican gallery is a big exhibition space, spread over two floors. On the ground floor, as you come in, there’s the ticket desk and shop, then you walk through a doorway on your right into the ground floor display space. This is divided into three successively larger ‘rooms’, the third and final one […]

No One Can Stop The Rain: A Chronicle of Two Foreign Aid Workers during the Angolan Civil War by Karin Moorhouse and Wei Cheng (2005)

As with all stories everything was one big confusão. (Karin Moorhouse in No One Can Stop The Rain, page 201) Karin and Wei Karin Moorhouse was born in Australia. At university in April 1981 (p.262) she met and fell in love with Wei Cheng, who had fled Mao’s China (where he had been a very young […]

Congo: the epic history of a people by David Van Reybrouck – 3. The Great War of Africa

“General Bosco Ntaganda told us: ‘When you’re a soldier, women are free. Everything is free.’” (former child soldier talking to David van Reybrouck) David van Reybrouck’s complete history of Congo includes a chapter devoted to the conflict variously known as ‘the Second Congo War’ or ‘the Great War of Africa’ which is reckoned by commentators […]