A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich

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W. W. Norton, Incorporated, Aug 27, 2012 - History - 304 pages
8 Reviews

The Pope wanted it, Rousseau translated it, and the Nazis pilfered an Italian noble's villa to get it: Germania, by the Roman historian Tacitus, took on a life of its own as both an object and an ideology. Rediscovered in the 16th century and then praised as a 'golden booklet, ' it was adopted by German Humanists who read it as a defense of German nationality. For the next 500 years, various movements coopted this classic and used it to further their own diverse - often dangerous - goals. Krebs, a professor of classics at Harvard University, shows us the history behind the book, tracing Tacitus's work from its original depiction of the rough-hewn German tribes contrasting with the sometimes overly sophisticated Romans, to its eventual incorporation in Nazi ideology as a celebration of the origins of the German people.

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Review: A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich

User Review  - Jaclyn - Goodreads

Oh, a fascinating piece. Very dense, very academic, but somehow also a rollicking adventure story. I am, naturally, enamored of all I learned through reading this work. This would have been right up my alley last year, in terms of co-opting and manipulating historical narratives and truths. Read full review

Review: A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich

User Review  - Goodreads

Oh, a fascinating piece. Very dense, very academic, but somehow also a rollicking adventure story. I am, naturally, enamored of all I learned through reading this work. This would have been right up my alley last year, in terms of co-opting and manipulating historical narratives and truths. Read full review

About the author (2012)

Christopher B. Krebs, a classics professor at Harvard University, has published widely on the Roman historians and their afterlives. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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