In Search of Ancient North Africa: A History in Six Lives
By Barnaby Rogerson
2017, Haus Publishing, 978-1-90996-154-8, $29.95 hb.
Reviewed by JOSEPH HAMMOND on January 15, 2019
North Africa is home to some of the most impressive ruins of classical antiquity, and British author Barnaby Rogerson has been visiting (and picnicking at) those sites for the better part of 40 years. “I have watched with annoyance, which has gradually changed into amusement, how many European[s] … act as if they own the classical part of North Africa,” Rogerson writes—as he presents evidence that clearly shows otherwise. His understanding of these ruins’ geographies informs the illuminating biographical sketches of the prominent North Africans at the core of a book that spans some 1,200 years to the mid-fifth century CE: Queen Dido, King Juba II, Emperor Septimius Severus, St. Augustine, Hannibal and the Berber cavalry commander Massena, who played a key role in Hannibal’s ultimate defeat. Former war photographer Don McCullin’s haunting black-and-white photographs highlight the sites, but sadly, the book lacks maps to help orient the reader on this marvelous journey.