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Decisive Battles: A Review

July 24, 2004

To my regret, I found “Decisive Battles: Cannae” to be just like every other show that appears on the History Channel. On the surface, solid entertainment, but the more you know about the time period in question, the more the program pales, the more the inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and rampant generalizations glare.

Much of the Second Punic War is simply glossed over in the show. Even the motivations for fighting at Cannae are generalized into “Rome threw everything they had into a last shot”. Weak. And the host. I mean, if you must hire someone who is going to read off of cue cards, at least get a good reader.

The computer animation was cool to see, I will admit that, but they relied far to heavily on it. By the climax of the battle, I was already sick of it.

So, what did I like? The commentators. They got both Adrian Goldsworthy and Victor Davis Hanson.

Perhaps I should be more forgiving. After all, there WAS only half an hour to work with. And I know more about the Second Punic War than the vast majority of the world’s population. For those who know little about it or nothing at all, I’m sure this program proved rather interesting and educational. And that, after all, is the point of the History Channel.

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