Kershaw draws liberally on the original sources, including Plutarch, Livy, Tacitus, and other historians, with occasional references to modern research. Given the enormous swath of history the book covers, it almost inevitably lacks a certain cohesiveness as the narrative moves from one threatened frontier to another, often skipping several generations. Readers will find themselves referring frequently to the maps. Though this isn’t the first Roman history one should read, it adds a fascinating dimension for anyone with a broad knowledge of the subject ... An interesting take on Roman history focused on the peoples that resisted its growth and eventually brought about its destruction.
Kershaw’s big, generous history is much more a Vercingetorix book than a Germanicus one. In a series of densely researched chapters, Kershaw acquaints readers with a gallery of the enemies of Rome, and it’s a testament to the charismatic nature of the underdog that most readers will recognize far more of those alien names than they would the names of the Roman generals who faced them in battle ...Kershaw’s easy command of the classical sources makes the battles and stalemates gripping reading, but most of the Romans come across as mere avatars of a greedily expanding empire ... Kershaw...has a tendency to exaggerate the already dramatic stakes ... The result is a curiously fascinating inverted portrait of a thousand years of Roman history, with events and battles and marquee personalities seen, as much as possible, through the eyes of the despised and defeated opposition. The Enemies of Rome becomes an anti-triumphalist counterpoint to the standard history of the empire.
.a fascinating project that offers some interesting insights into the accepted descriptions and interpretations of Rome’s reign as the pre-eminent ancient power of the Mediterranean basin ... This is a superb alternate look at Roman history, because even though the author uses many of the expected primary sources, he does a masterful job of reinterpreting those sources, adding additional primary sources, and using recent discoveries and studies in archeology to offer a truly fresh look at western civilization’s most enduring empire. For any student looking for some important context of these classic texts, this book is an excellent resource.