A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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ISBN-13: 978-0393342925
ISBN-10: 0393342921
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Harvard classics professor Krebs writes a scholarly but lucid account of the abuse of history. Written in 98 C.E. by the Roman official Tacitus, About the Origin and Mores of the Germanic Peoples was lost for centuries but resurfaced around 1500 as Germans were growing resentful of foreign domination—in this case from the Catholic Church in Rome. The rediscovered book launched a primitivist myth that captivated admirers over the next 500 years, from Martin Luther to Heinrich Himmler, who loved its portrayal of ancient Germans as freedom-loving warriors, uncultured but honorable, in contrast to decadent Romans. In fact, Tacitus probably never visited Germany, Krebs notes. Rather, using books and travelers' reports, he wrote for a Roman audience who shared his romantic view of northern barbarians. Enthusiastic German readers, culminating in the Nazis, ignored Tacitus's disparaging comments, misread passages to confirm their prejudices, and proclaimed that the ancient historian confirmed their national superiority. This is an inventive analysis of, and warning against, an irresistible human yearning to find written proof of one's ideology. Illus. (May)
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Review

“A fascinating story of how a book could be used and―especially―abused over two thousand years, as enemies saw it as presenting Germans as brutish and barbarian, while German nationalistic pride extracted a quite different message of a nation that was simple, virtuous, and pure.... beautifully told by Christopher Krebs.” (Christopher Pelling, editor of Greek Tragedy and the Historian)

“A most exciting book! In Krebs’ hands, the story of the Germania manuscript becomes part thriller, part detective story.... A must-read for anyone interested in the pernicious power of the ideas of antiquity―and a timely reminder of the responsibilities placed on readers as well as writers.” (Tim Rood, University of Oxford, author of American Anabasis)

Product details

  • File Size: 1571 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0393062651
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (August 15, 2011)
  • Publication Date: August 27, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005HG51VU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #486,197 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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on October 11, 2011
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on July 4, 2015
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