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7 Reviews
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book
This is a fantastic introduction to Latin. I have been slogging through a few of the mainstream options out there. Like pretty much everyone who has ever suffered through Wheelock, I found many of the available books on Latin to be dull, unnecessarily confusing, dense, backwards and generally unhelpful. (One of the best ones out there is Professor Grote's Comprehensive...
Published on July 18, 2008 by George

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended with noted reservations
I have just completed reading and studying Richard Prior's Latin Demystified. While this book has the problems mentioned in two of the other reviews, for the most part it provides a clear explanation of Latin grammar with plenty of useful examples throughout. What it does not do is give much Latin for the student to read. I did not have a problem with this decision to...
Published on September 16, 2010 by Russell Fanelli


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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book, July 18, 2008
This review is from: Latin Demystified: A Self Teaching Guide (Paperback)
This is a fantastic introduction to Latin. I have been slogging through a few of the mainstream options out there. Like pretty much everyone who has ever suffered through Wheelock, I found many of the available books on Latin to be dull, unnecessarily confusing, dense, backwards and generally unhelpful. (One of the best ones out there is Professor Grote's Comprehensive Guide, which was initially written as a collection of class handouts to explain Wheelock. When you have to write a whole book just to explain and interpret another book, you have a problem.)

Latin Demystified is a breath of fresh air. The book starts in a slightly unusual place -- with verbs instead of nouns, and with the perfect and imperfect tenses instead of the present tense. Then, once you get around to studying nouns, you are introduced to the accusative case before discussing the nominative case.

Now that I am over halfway through the book, I understand why the author organized the book this way -- the present tense is more irregular than the perfect and imperfect. And the nominative case is less important than the accusative, since the verb in a Latin sentence carries more information than they do in English.

In all, I found Latin Demystified to be logical, clear and concise. It has reignited my enthusiasm, and I find myself looking forward to my next opportunity to spend an hour working through a new section. It has helped make my self-directed journey into Latin everything I hoped it would be.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended with noted reservations, September 16, 2010
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This review is from: Latin Demystified: A Self Teaching Guide (Paperback)
I have just completed reading and studying Richard Prior's Latin Demystified. While this book has the problems mentioned in two of the other reviews, for the most part it provides a clear explanation of Latin grammar with plenty of useful examples throughout. What it does not do is give much Latin for the student to read. I did not have a problem with this decision to focus more on grammar and the various exercises to test comprehension than on including reading selected passages. In fact, this decision to focus on grammar is common among many Latin texts.

As I finally arrived at the sixteenth and last chapter on participles and gerunds, I was pleased to think I was prepared to tackle books like Hans Orberg's Lingua Latina that are written entirely in Latin. Prior does not include as much vocabulary for reading as I might have liked, but again, that was part of his decision to focus on the way Latin works. Vocabulary acquisition is much less challenging than mastering things like the ablative absolute or deponent verbs, both of which are covered reasonably well by Prior.

One thing is clear to me. The student who is learning Latin on his/her own must be prepared for a challenge of a high order. Much time and effort must be invested in learning the conjugation of verbs and the declension of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. Additionally, the student must realize that the study of Latin must be ongoing over several years with much time spent in reviewing what has been learned and often forgotten because of lack of continuous reinforcement. In his book, Prior presents the complexities of the language, which are considerable, but the tone of the book is encouraging and helpful.

The reader of this review will by this time have clearly noted that Latin Demystified is not without problems, but it seemed good enough for me to recommend with noted reservations.

Update: I have just finished reading Prior's other Latin text, The Everything Learning Latin Book. I compared the two books and they have many similarities, as one might expect. If I had to choose between the two texts, I think Demystified is, as its title suggests, a bit clearer. It does not have Everything, but enough for first-time students to become thorougly acquainted with the Latin language. The Everything text provides a good review of Dymystified and adds more of the complexity of Latin. No one will study either of these books without gaining respect for the challenge involved in reading Latin competently.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Purchase, December 11, 2010
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This review is from: Latin Demystified: A Self Teaching Guide (Paperback)
A disappointing sequel to Prior's earlier book. Gone are the helpful graphics, the friendly tabular formats, the interesting side notes and historical background. As if they got half-way done, did a flat-text dump of the content, and then just decided to publish. The product of a bloated dysfunctional bureaucracy - something you'd expect from the old Soviet Union, or from those ignorant self-righteous ninnies in the malignant DC-Empire

We were expecting an upgrade of Prior's 2003 book - correct the mistakes & typos - maybe add more depth in some areas. But this 2008 publication by McGraw-Hill is a big step backward. Most of the content is more shallow and less friendly to read

Standing by itself we might give it three or four stars - Prior is a good source. But compared with his 2003 publication, this new book gets a well-deserved two-stars. There's no excuse for this downgrade. We guess the author must have lost control of this project
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Latin Demystified, December 26, 2008
This review is from: Latin Demystified: A Self Teaching Guide (Paperback)
I gave this book 5 stars because of the layout and clear presentation of information. I have purchased several other Latin textbooks over the last year to try and Learn Latin. I found this book to be the easiest approach to learning the technical details (grammar) because of its clarity. The presentation of material made more sense to me than the other books I studied. I don't think you will go wrong by spending a few dollars on this book.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No go, July 25, 2013
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This review is from: Latin Demystified: A Self Teaching Guide (Paperback)
Do not be fooled by the title. It is not a self-study book. It is, at best, the description of the Latin grammer. Nothing to do with any learning. I am not sure where the author is coming from but there are some rules and methodologies how to learn a new language. Start with basics, repeat, review, add news stuff, explain, repeat, review, add new stuff, etc., etc. Here we begin with explanation of all Latin tenses, good luck. Then, the perfect tense is introduced first. Why? And all four forms of Latin verbs are explained. To whom? Someone who has no clue what Latin is. Mind you this is a first lesson. and so it goes. No, I would not recommend this book to anyone.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Limited but thorough., June 24, 2012
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Andrew Charig (Princeton, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Latin Demystified: A Self Teaching Guide (Paperback)
Limited in that there are not too many examples for each grammar rule and not a lot of exercises to drill on, but thorough in that it deals with most of the more subtle complexities of the language and relates them well to English analogues. The analysis of the differences between Latin and English is one of the most helpful things a starter can be given.

Also helpful, I thought, was the novel approach: Pryor starts with verbs and stays on them for four sections, leaving everything else for later. This may seem a bit lopsided, but it's a good idea: it drives the student to look for verbs, wherever they may be (and they can be anywhere, not just at the end of the clause), and that is KEY to getting around Latin grammar.

This is certainly not a starter book (not geared to the attention span of the high-schooler) but helpful for the more advanced student.

Note to some of the other reviewers on this site: most of you seem to be tackling Latin on your own from books. You have chosen a very rough row to hoe. The language is too complicated, too alien in its foundations, to pick up easily. This is not Spanish you are tackling here. Go back to high school and sit in with a teacher.
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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Peculiarly odd help book for students of Latin., September 22, 2008
This review is from: Latin Demystified: A Self Teaching Guide (Paperback)
I got this book recently and felt it was entirely not very well written.

Please examine page 23 prior to purchase. On page 23 you'll note the author has included the irregular verb sum, number 4 in this exercise. However this chapter does not include any irregular verbs! You'll have to skip to page 70 to answer this problem on page 23. Do you think this is beneficial to a new student of Latin?Spending your time hunting, flipping through ahead chapters to answer a problem in chapter one? A futile exercise indeed.

Please spend time at the bookstore reviewing this book prior to purchasing. If you can, spend time with end chapter exercises. You might save some pain and suffering and anger for purchasing a poorly organized Latin tutorial in my honest opinion.
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Latin Demystified: A Self Teaching Guide
Latin Demystified: A Self Teaching Guide by Richard E. Prior (Paperback - July 2, 2008)
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