Until I purchased this book I had never attempted to read the works of Julius Caesar. And after reading this I'm glad that I waited until now to do so, as I doubt that I would have found them as accessible and comprehensible as Kurt Raaflaub makes them in this translation.
The first step is the essay-length biography that serves as the Introduction to the book. In it, Raaflaub gives readers an overview of Caesar's life that is worth reading even for those already familiar with it, as in it Raaflaub provides a helpful context for the books that follow. These he presents in chronological order, starting with Caesar's Gallic Wars and concluding with the Spanish Wars. As Raaflaub explains, the inclusion of the later books in what is termed the "Corpus Caesarianum" represents something of a fudge, as their authorship is increasingly distant from Caesar, with only a few portions of the Alexandrian War based on Caesar's own drafts and the African War and the Spanish War written entirely by other authors, both of whom were likely officers who served in those campaigns. Yet the value of even the later works as firsthand accounts of Caesar's campaigns is enormous, justifying their inclusion here.
It is Raaflaub's labors with the translation, though, that make this book such a worthwhile read. Unfamiliar as I am with Caesar's writings, I cannot comment on the quality of the translation from the original Latin or how it compares to the English-language translations undertaken by other scholars. For me the value lay in Raaflaub's extensive footnotes and the supplementary materials he provides. The notes help to provides a modern explanation for the various Latin names for the people and places mentioned in the text, while the maps and images provide further context and definition. Best of all, their inclusion within the text, with the notes at the bottom of the pages and the maps next to the relevant passages, saves readers from laboriously paging back and forth through the book for them. Together it makes Raaflaub's edition an incredibly useful edition of Caesar's works, one that makes his classic account of his campaigns accessible to readers today.