P-DAY is coming

In Masters of Command by Barry Strauss

May Day. Visions of country folk dancing around the May Pole. Of labor unionists marching behind raised banners. Of student rebels scuttling across Parisian cobblestones in ’68. Of Soviet era Politburoniks lining up above Lenin’s Tomb to salute the latest weaponry rolling across Red Square. And this year, I’m dreaming of a new May Day. It’s D-Day! Er, make that …

Barry StraussP-DAY is coming

The Ides of March

In Masters of Command by Barry Strauss

USAToday has picked up my blog post in its online edition. Please read it here: Roman Political Lessons for Today Barry Strauss is author of Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar and the Genius of Leadership (Simon & Schuster, May 2012).

Barry StraussThe Ides of March

What Would Alexander Do?

In Masters of Command, What Would Alexander Do? by Barry Strauss

He was short and well built. You would call his face strong rather than handsome. His neck was cocked slightly to the left; his eyes gleamed. Long blonde hair framed his head and even when he stood still, it appeared windblown. There was something catlike about his posture, as if he longed to uncoil by jumping on a horse and …

Barry StraussWhat Would Alexander Do?

Hollywood and the Great Captains of Greece and Rome

In Masters of Command by Barry Strauss

(In honor of Oscar week, my ancient ghosts have turned the blog over to an unnamed Hollywood critic.) It is possible to make a great movie about the three greatest generals of the ancient world – Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar – but you would hardly know it from Hollywood’s record. With one exception, Hollywood has failed to rise to the …

Barry StraussHollywood and the Great Captains of Greece and Rome

Hannibal’s Path: Iran, Israel, and America

In Hannibal's Path, Masters of Command by Barry Strauss

Hannibal’s Ghost came back from his sacrifice. He had such a fierce look about him that I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had just passed a child through fire to Moloch. But I didn’t ask. “Welcome back, oh Subjugator of Spain. Before you left, you were clearing up my misconceptions about the Middle East. Let’s return to that subject, …

Barry StraussHannibal’s Path: Iran, Israel, and America

Hannibal’s Path: is War Coming in the Middle East?

In Hannibal's Path, Masters of Command by Barry Strauss

His bearded face had a weather-beaten look. His one good eye stared in scrutiny beside an aquiline nose. A man in his 60s, he still looked strong and unbowed–for a ghost. He was the shield of Carthage, the avatar of Hercules, the symbol of the one-eyed Celtic war god, the counselor of kings, the idol of the Army, and the …

Barry StraussHannibal’s Path: is War Coming in the Middle East?

Bread and circuses

In Masters of Command by Barry Strauss

With Super Bowl XLVI upon us, I summoned the ghost of the most victorious Roman of them all, Julius Caesar. “Hail, professor,” he said. “I see that you’ve got a cast on your left arm. Is that a football injury?” “No. I got it working out at the gym. I learned the hard way that I’m not 30 anymore.”

Barry StraussBread and circuses

The Pompey Effect

In Masters of Command by Barry Strauss

The Republican establishment wanted him. A brilliant strategist, he was painstaking in his attention to logistics. He knew his business inside and out. His friends adored him and he had many friends. Hail, Caesar! It sounds like you are describing the perfect candidate. I haven’t finished. His speeches left as much of an impression as a tideless sea on a …

Barry StraussThe Pompey Effect

Twelve Maxims from Caesar for the US Election Year

In Caesar's Ghost, Masters of Command by Barry Strauss

I asked Caesar’s Ghost to comment on the Republican primaries but he declined. “The race is run,” he said, pronouncing Romney the candidate. When I asked him to explain, he said his legate would be in touch. No sooner did he speak than an e-mail arrived with the following words of wisdom from the dictator.  CAESARIS DICTATORIS SENTENTIAE XII “It’s …

Barry StraussTwelve Maxims from Caesar for the US Election Year

Retreat

In Caesar's Ghost, Masters of Command by Barry Strauss

As the year 2011 nears its end, I called on Caesar’s Ghost to look back – and look ahead. I asked the dictator his main impression of the year. As a general, I could not help but hear the profound blast of the trumpet sounding the retreat. The Americans have pulled back in the Middle East. Once there were 170,000 …

Barry StraussRetreat