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Caesar's Gallic War Review by Heather Jackowitz

Olivia Coolidge
American Home School Publishing
PO Box 570
Cameron, MO 64429

Caesar's Gallic War by Olivia Coolidge was originally published in 1961 and was republished in 2007 by American Home School Publishing. The book is a blend of facts from Caesar's original Commentaries on the Gallic War and a well-written fictional narrative told from the point of view of one of Caesar's officers.

The author's stated intent is not to summarize Caesar, but "to add to Caesar's story a great deal which he left out." She does this by expanding on Caesar's Commentaries using "all we know from other sources about the Gauls, about individual Romans, their political background, their army training, and countless other things."

Each of the thirteen chapters begins with a short fictional introduction by Quintus Octavius, one of Caesar's officers, followed by the next chapter of the book he is writing. His story comes alive with "eyewitness" descriptions and interesting dialogue.

The book is divided as follows:



I. The Deliverer-58 B.C.

  1. The Three, March, 58 B.C.
  2. The Saving of the Province
  3. Caesar's Legions
  4. The Gauls and the Germans

II. The Conquerer-57-54 B.C.

  1. The Conference of Lucca, 56 B.C.
  2. First Landing in Britain, 55 B.C.
  3. Second Invasion of Britain, 54 B.C.

III. The Rebels-54-51 B.C.

  1. Loss of a Legion, 54-53 B.C.
  2. Caesar's Revenge, 53 B.C.
  3. Prelude to an Outburst, 53-52 B.C.
  4. The Great Rebel, 52 B.C.
  5. Alesia, 52 B.C.
  6. Aftermath, 51 B.C.


The Epilogue brings the reader up to January of 49 B.C. - the crossing of the Rubicon - "The die is cast." The rest, as we know, is history!

The book includes two maps, one of Gaul at the time of Caesar and the other of the tribes of Gaul.

Caesar's Gallic War would make an excellent supplement to a high school study of Roman history and would also greatly enrich a reading of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Even those students who normally wouldn't be interested in Caesar's military tactics will be drawn into the interesting storyline. Younger students with a keen interest in military history would probably enjoy this book a great deal too.

Product review by Heather Jackowitz, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2008