second chance games

Search This Website of delight

Showing posts with label author. Show all posts

                                                                                   Sulla                                                  ...

Sulla: A Dictator Reconsidered by Lynda Telford Sulla: A Dictator Reconsidered  by Lynda Telford

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

author

                                                                                   Sulla
                
                                      A Dictator Reconsidered

                                          By Lynda Telford 







                     

 Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix; his self written epitaph reads "no friend ever served me, and no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full".

  The truth about Sulla's life and exploits has always been there to be seen. It took a brave person like Lynda Telford to put it all down in writing. Swimming against the stream is hard enough. Fighting your way through two thousand years of history is quite another adventure, although the author's membership in the Richard III society may have helped her prepare for this struggle.

 Sulla: the name exudes anathema to most historians. All stories have to have a villain, and to most he fits the bill admirably. But does he? A soldier and general of the highest caliber, he was a dictator of Rome, the first dictator in Rome's long history not to have a time limit on his authority. He killed, outlawed, and even murdered. So he must be the demon we have read about. As I said, every story needs a villain and a hero. History has chosen the hero in our play, Julius Caesar, a man who refused to bow down to Sulla's will and divorce his wife. Technically true, but there is more to the story. Only two men bearded the old lion that was Sulla. Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and Caesar. Of the two, Pompey stayed in Rome, whilst Caesar ran to the edge of the Roman world after his slight tug on Sulla's mane.

  He was one of only eight Romans to win the coveted Grass Crown before it was sullied with Octavian's honorary one.

 To me, Lynda Telford's book is a milestone. It brings to life a principled man who should have had the acclaim of the Roman world in which he lived. Instead he was, and is, vilified for his choice of friends and lovers. He was principled, and he did have a reason for what he planned and carried out. He was a patriot who saw Rome falling from a republic to chaos in front of him. He was born just before the upheaval of the Gracchus brothers. The Gracchus brothers also had a plan, a good and true one. Their problem was that they were willing to flaunt all of Rome's laws to see it through. From their lives and deaths you see the fall of the Roman republic. Demagogues, money, and violence became the way of  politics in Rome. Sulla was trying to put an end to this, and to strengthen the senate, and return Rome to a land of its laws.

 The author has picked an incredible man for her work. She has also picked a huge fight with history. If Caesar is a hero, then Sulla must be a villain.

  Sulla is not only vilified for his actions, but also for his way of life. He is the only openly bisexual person in all of the famous men of Rome's historical record before the empire. I say openly because he himself stated that the male actor Metrobius was the love of his life. I think it is high time (as does the author) we look at his life without the blinders of previous centuries prejudices. 

 That I agree with the author's premise is very much a given. To me, Gaius Marius and Caesar were both heading Rome so that it might be ruled as a personal empire, naturally with them or their family as emperors. Sulla tried to put a stop to the violence and chaos of the last forty years. He wanted the republic back in all of its glory, and strong within its laws. The author shows Sulla warts and all. She does not make excuses for him, but tries to explain his actions. There are many people who disagree with her portrait. Caesar finally conquered in the end. His own plaudits of his career have been used to teach Latin for two thousand years. While Sulla, who became a dictator and then voluntarily gave up that power, is reviled instead of being praised as another Cincinnatus. Readers, please try and keep an open mind about the author's portrait of the life of the colossus that was Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix.

 The author brings his life and times to us in it's full panoply. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who has even the slightest interest in the history of the later Roman republic. Hopefully, she is hard at work on a biography of Pompey. In the meantime join me on every Ides of March, and raise a toast to Sulla and Pompey.

 Robert


Book: Sulla: a Dictator Reconsidered
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Distributor: Casemate Publishing
Author: Lynda Telford
Review Date: 8/21/16

                            The War of The Spanish Succession by James Falkner     The War of the Spanish Succession was probably ...

The War of the Spanish Succession by James Falkner The War of the Spanish Succession by James Falkner

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

author

                            The War of The Spanish Succession by James Falkner





  
 The War of the Spanish Succession was probably the world's first world war. It was fought in areas as far flung as the Seven Years War, which it preceded by fifty years. The war was fought between the French, and Spanish on one side, and the English, Dutch, and Holy roman Empire. It also had bit parts played by the smaller players that Europe abounded with at the time.

 Our story begins with Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire and Carlos I of the Spanish empire. Through his mother and father, he was the heir to both of these along with the Netherlands and more. His reign saw the house of Hapsburg become the world's greatest multi-national dynasty. The story continues until the late 1600s when Carlos II reigned over the Spanish empire. He was unfortunately childless and represented the last true Spanish Hapsburg. Leopold I (Holy Roman Emperor), and Louis XIV (king of France) were both grandsons of Phillip III of Spain. They, with their children, had the greatest claim to the throne of Spain. There was a third candidate who was very important to our story (but who unfortunately for the the people of Europe and beyond) that died young. This was Joseph-Ferdinand Wittelsbach of Bavaria. He was the son of the Elector of Bavaria and the grandson of Leopold I. There were treaties in force between the major powers that would make Joseph-Ferdinand the king of Spain after the death of Carlos II. His death in 1699 turned Europe into a powder keg waiting to be lit by whomever had the will to strike the match. 

  Carlos II passed away, but before he did drew up a will. In it the Spanish crown was to be offered to a grandson of Louis XIV, the Duc D'Anjou. In the event that he or more to the point his grandfather turned it down it was to be offered to the Hapsburg Archduke Charles of Austria, son of Leopold I. 

  Louis XIV's and the Duc D'Anjou's (now Phillip V of Spain) acceptance of the crown struck the spark that turned into the aptly named War of The Spanish Succession.

  The book tells the story of the War, its military campaigns, political machinations, and final outcome. The war would see the rise of England to be a global power. It would also really be the last time the Netherlands was a top player in the world of European politics. France would be brought to the edge of ruin.  

 This being my first review of a book, I wanted to delve into the physical makeup of the book itself. I have some books that I have owned for twenty years that look as bad as some hundred year old newspaper. They are yellow and falling apart. I'm not just talking mass market soft cover books, but hard cover. The older mass market books are only fit for the inside of a reptile's cage. So what does go into the making of a 'good' book that will see you through the years? Well I am here to tell you don't start your search using book making. At best you will find a plethora of hits on 'la Cosa Nostra' etc. As far as the actual pages turning yellow, it is a process that is well known for making our lives more miserable, oxidation. Lignin is found in all trees to varying degrees. It is actually thought to be the reason that trees can grow to great heights. If too much Lignin is in the book's paper, it will oxidize faster. Some book pages are now bleached to make the pages more white. This can break down the page's cellulose and also cause oxidation to happen faster. Book bindings can be either sewn or glued. Suffice to say that in my delving into this arcane study I did find out one thing. The books that Casemate publishing brings to the public are built to last. So, leaving the actual makeup of the book aside, let us start on the Mr. Falkner's part of this endeavor. 

  Louis Le Grand was unlucky in the timing of this war. The Frenchmen that he ruled were still as courageous as they were at the beginning of his reign. The problem was, where were his generals? Turenne, Conde, and Luxembourg were all gone. Only two French Marshals, The Duke of Berwick, and the Duc de Villars were to shine in this war, but not as brilliantly as those older diamonds had.

  Marlborough was close to winning the war in 1709, but his casualties at Malplaquet caused his allies to hamstring him. The Dutch were always an anchor around Marlborough's throat, and even more so now. The political fighting between the Whigs and Tories in England sealed his fate. Louis XIV, with the help of Villars was able to fight on, and managed to broker a much better negotiated peace then was thought possible a few years ago. The author shows this and more in this well done history of the war.

  This book is a godsend for people who want to read about the history of the War of The Spanish Succession, but also the politics and warfare of the time. The author goes into all of the different areas of where it was fought. There have been a few books on Marlborough himself, and a few more about his battles. There have even been some on his entire campaigns, but none on the other parts of the war in recent years. To read about the actions in Spain and elsewhere, you have to spend hundreds of dollars, if not more, on some older books about the war and its personalities. There are some PDF and EPUB versions of these books, but the copying process has left them to be pretty much unreadable, at least to me.  

 This book is an overview of the entire conflict and does not go into the minutiae of the separate battles or sieges. For those, you will have to look elsewhere. However, it does fill the gap in a book that brings the entire war to your finger tips. The author has a solid grasp of the history and reports it in a well done no-nonsense style without any hint of bias. I find this refreshing in a book about this war. Most of the books I have read on the subject have a definite English bias, at least in the amount of information about each side in the war.

 So thank you Mr. Falkner, and Casemate, for this book. It brings to life the war and its battles, and campaigns, and is a great addition to anyone's library.

  Mr. Falkner has the following books (among others) on the history of the times listed with Casemate Publishing:

  http://www.casematepublishers.com/index.php/james-falkner-s-guide-to-marlborough-s-battlefields.html

 http://www.casematepublishers.com/index.php/marlborough-s-war-machine-1702-1711.html

http://www.casematepublishers.com/index.php/marshal-vauban-and-the-defence-of-louis-xiv-s-france.html

Robert

Book: The War of The Spanish Succession
Publisher: Casemate Publishing, Pen & Sword
Author: James Falkner
 Review Date 8/14/2016

Military History books published by Pen and Sword will be reviewed here soon.   http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

author

Military History books published by Pen and Sword will be reviewed here soon.

 http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/

PixelPLaybox.co.uk