Monday, September 22, 2008

Dan Carlin's Punic Nightmares II

In the second episode of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History about the Punic Wars, the dramatic height (or low, depending on your perspective) is reached. The mostly seafaring nation of the Carthaginians have made it into the heartland of Italy and threaten Rome from its backyard, over land.

The general that got the army there is the famous Hannibal and it is of course his legendary trek over the Alps that landed him in the north of Italy. Dan Carlin kicks off where Hannibal has just finished the passage. This marvelous achievement is a mixed bag after all. The crossing has cost Hannibal half of his army and his supply lines are too long to be considerable at all and his army is exhausted. The general keeps his army going though, manages to reinforce and to beat the Romans over and over again in battle.

Carlin's achievement in the retelling lies in this, that he manages to alleviate the battle chronicles from an expose of data, of strategy and tactics, of military and political struggle into a veritable drama. It is the trademark of his podcast and he gets better at it with every installment. He brings the history to life. He positions the listener onto the battle field and succeeds in delivering some of the experience. It is only then that we come to truly appreciate how precarious Hannibal's position was, how desperate the Romans were about this rogue army in their lands, how cunning the maneuvers were and how intensive and frightening the fighting was.

More Dan Carlin:
Punic Nightmares I,
Under the Influence,
Apaches,
Assyrians,
and Dan Carlin praises Anne is a Man!

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