|Twenty years on|
|My first book, The Roman army at war, 100 BC to AD 200 is now twenty years old. It was based on my doctoral thesis, tidied up and with a few extra bits added because it was no longer limited to the thesis word count of 100,000. If memory serves the first print run was just 300 copies, but later there were some fifteen hundred hardbacks published and the still available paperback edition has sold well over nine thousand copies. That's small fry by commercial standards, but not bad for a book aimed primarily at other academics. |
Few writers can resist tinkering with their work if they are given a chance, and I'm sure that if I wrote the book now that the style would be different and it would certainly be longer. When I started my doctorate I had wanted to look at sieges as well as open battle, but there simply was not room to do it properly. After two more decades of studying and thinking about the Roman army and ancient warfare, I still do not think that I would change any of the main arguments - and very few of the minor details. There probably ought to have been more discussion of the debate over S.L.A. Marshall's ideas about natural fighters and low participation in fire-fights in the Second World War and Korea by US soldiers and those of other armies. It's a complicated field, and maybe someday I'll write again about these issues in detail, but I still believe that whatever you think of Marshall and some of his claims, that it is true that in battle most of the effective fighting is done by a minority, whether we are talking about the age of Homer or the modern day.
Not everyone agrees with my interpretation of how the Roman army functioned on campaign and how battles were fought. So far I have not been convinced to change my mind by anyone who has challenged my views, but a fair few have come up with ideas that to my fit very well in the same broader picture. Sadly studying warfare remains deeply unfashionable among scholars working on the Roman world. That does not show any sign of changing in the near future.
|Problems with e-mail|
|Some people have had problems clicking the link to e-mail me. It should work now, but in case it doesn't simply copy the e-mail address on the contact page.|
|Pax Romana released today in the UK|
|This is the official release date for the UK edition of PAX ROMANA. I was up in London today and signed a stack of books at Hatchards in Piccadilly, so that is the place if you want to get a signed copy. |
There is a new page on the website about the book. The US release from Yale University Press comes at the start of next month.
By the way - yes, I do know that the photograph of Masada is back to front. It will be changed in the next print and for the paperback.
|Whose Business is to die due out in paperback next month|
|Last week I received my first copy of Whose Business is to die in paperback and it looks very nice indeed. It's due for release on the 9th June - I suppose shortly before the 201st anniversary of Waterloo (although obviously this won't be quite as big a deal as last year!) In the story we are still in 1811, and the background is the first siege of Badajoz and the appallingly costly Battle of Albuera. I have enjoyed writing all of this series of novels so far, but am especially proud of the chapters dealing with the battle.|
|In the Name of Rome new edition|
|Yale University Press will release a new edition of my In the Name of Rome this week for sale in the USA. It has a new foreword, and it was strange to go back and look at something I wrote so long ago. An author's instinct is to tinker, but I managed to resist the urge as I did not think that altering anything else would make this a better book. There has not been a US edition before - they simply sold the British one over there - so hopefully it will make it much more widely available.|