by Adrian Goldsworthy

Thames & Hudson, $26.95, 224 pages

It’s impossible to separate Roman government from her military. Rome was her army, and her army was Rome. An observer from the Roman Empire, upon hearing President Eisenhower’s dire warning about the Military/Industrial Complex, would wonder what Ike was whining about. Adrian Goldsworthy’s The Complete Roman Army is an amazing textbook, which provides detailed information about different aspects of the Roman war machine. While the book is only 224 pages, including the bibliography, and index, the book is incredibly dense with information. Goldsworthy’s writing style is engaging, however, this book is not for the struggling reader. The book presumes that the reader possesses background information about Rome, and a strong, university-level vocabulary.

You’re going to want your reading glasses handy for this book, the text is small, and although there are an amazing array of images, diagrams, tables, and photographs, there are very few line breaks in the text.  Readers with experience navigating textbooks will have no difficulty here, however there is very little separation between paragraphs or topics, there’s no wasted white space on these pages.

Goldsworthy seems to focus on the army of the Imperium, rather than the Republic. The book, published by Thames & Hudson, is well constructed with a very heavy, high grade semi-gloss stock which makes the many gorgeous images really pop off of the page. If you or someone you love has an interest in Rome, ancient history, or military history, this would make an excellent gift come Christmas.

Reviewed by Bradley Wright