‘Legion Versus Phalanx’ by Myke Cole

Initial Rating: Highly Recommended  (How I Rate Books)



Genres: History, Rome, Nonfiction, Military History

Similar books:

Previous books by the author/in the series I’ve reviewed:

  • None

Here’s the TL;DR for my review (SPOILERS!):

  • Pros
    • A history of warfare, told from the perspective of a modern soldier. Cole did a good job of modernizing and bringing down-to-earth the details of Bronze Age/Iron Age combat and equipment without being boring.
    • Approachably written. A LOT of the nonfiction history books/nonfiction military books I’ve read are about as dense as uranium. I REALLY appreciated the fact that the author dumbed down the language without dumbing down the subject matter.
  • Mixed
    • At moments I lost the thread of his thesis. Cole went a bit too far into the nitty-gritty of Roman/Macedonian politics occasionally. While I personally appreciated the context this provided, it did wander a little bit off from the main thrust of the book without adding enough to validate the divergence.
      • If the book were a little longer and Cole added a little more historical context, I would have appreciated this added politics.
  • Cons
    • I’d have liked it if the author talked more about the origins of the Phalanx and the origins of the Legion as military organizations, as well as talked about how they gradually stopped being used with time.


Here’s a good intro to late-Bronze Age warfare. The author goes out of his way to write an informative-but-approachable book which clearly explains the mechanics of how battlefields worked way-back-when. Focused around clash of civilizations between Macedon/Greece and Rome, the author clearly explains the advantages and disadvantages of both styles of combat (the Phalanx of Greece vs the Legion of Rome).

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