HANNIBAL by Jacob Abbott / HANNIBAL by Ernle Bradford

by JF

Nothing “hidden” about this history, but reading these two books together makes for an excellent study in so-called “objectivity” in historical writing, and no doubt in journalism as well. There is no objectivity. Never has been, never will be. Forget what every major media information trough claims as part of its advertising campaign: No human being is capable of pure, unadulterated, unbiased objectivity.

Both of these historical works detail the 2nd Punic War, especially of course delving into the life and feats of the famous Carthaginian general. Both books also give a brief account of the 1st and 3rd Punic Wars, and both books elucidate on Hannibal’s life and exploits after the defeat at Zama. Thus, there is much similarity in the format of the books, though Jacob Abbott’s book was published in the late 1800s, while Ernle Bradford’s was published in the late 1900s. Both give stirring, fascinating, well written accounts of Hannibal’s life.

However, here is a most intriguing difference between the two: Whereas Abbott writes with much sympathy towards the Roman perspective, Bradford writes with much sympathy towards Hannibal’s perspective. Thus, these two books would make for a valuable reference for anyone writing a doctoral thesis or whatever on so-called “objectivity” in the major (or any other) media in any country, and among historians of any age, in any culture.

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