There are certain names which are familiar, as names, to all mankind; and every person who seeks for any degree of mental cultivation, feels desirous of informing himself of the leading outlines of their history, that he may know, in brief, what it was in their characters or their doings which has given them so widely-extended a fame. Consequently, great historical names alone are selected; and it has been the writer's aim to present the prominent and leading traits in their characters, and all the important events in their lives, in a bold and free manner, and yet in the plain and simple language which is so obviously required in works which aim at permanent and practical usefulness. This volume is dedicated to Hannibal.
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I thought this would be about Hannibal the Cannibal
Jacob Abbott takes the reader through a journey of Hannibal's life and beyond, the detail and in depth knowledge of the events and various battles is sometimes extremely surprising, he writes what we take as word for word conversations between great opposing Generals and rallying speeches before battle. You can tell that Abbott has seen and read a vast amount from historians of the time and you trust the story to be what really happened. You can sometimes tell that the book was written in the 1800s as the vocabulary is sometimes unusual and spends a few pages explaining to the reader the nature of altitude, the fact that although going closer to the sun makes the temperature drop seems like it must have been quite confusing to readers of the time (or maybe just to Americans).
Abbott describes the horrific battles in a way which shows he is not fond of mindless killing and sometimes you can tell he disagrees with the whole campaign.
However the book describes one of the best military voyages ever and immerses the reader by following Hannibal, his military genius and sagacity, his inspired troops as well as his opposite numbers on the field and his political enemies back home.