Few military leaders are remembered in history for their mistakes rather than their successes. One of the famous exceptions is George Custer, whose tactical blunder at Little Big Horn is a notable setback in America's westward expansion. Another, more ancient example is the Carthaginian leader Hannibal, who twice had it in his power to conquer the Roman empire and twice failed to act quickly enough to do so. He would forever rue his error, writes the sympathetic French historian Serge Lancel in this thoroughly researched biography; like Napoleon, Hannibal spent his last days in island exile (in his case, on Crete), lamenting his missteps and longing for another chance to rule the world. Even so, writes Lancel, Hannibal had many accomplishments of which to be proud, notably his difficult passage of the Alps with a huge army of men, horses, and elephants, and his defeat of the Roman armies at the Battle of Cannae in 216 B.C., a defeat that cost the Romans some 70,000 men. --Gregory McNamee --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .