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

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

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By (author) Christopher B. Krebs

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  • Publisher: WW Norton & Co
  • Format: Paperback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 203mm x 20mm | 249g
  • Publication date: 28 September 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0393342921
  • ISBN 13: 9780393342925
  • Sales rank: 308,579

Product description

This, the riveting story of the Germania, tells of its incarnations and exploitations through the ages. The pope wanted it, Montesquieu used it and the Nazis pilfered an Italian noble's villa to get it: the Germania, by the Roman historian Tacitus, took on a life of its own as both an object and an ideology. When Tacitus wrote a not-very-flattering little book about the ancient Germans in 98 AD, at the height of the Roman Empire, he could not have foreseen that the Nazis would extol it as "a bible" and that Heinrich Himmler would vow to resurrect Germany on its grounds. But the Germania inspired - and polarised - readers long before the rise of the Third Reich. In this elegant and captivating history, Christopher B. Krebs traces the wide-ranging influence of the Germania over a five-hundred year span, showing us how an ancient text rose to take its place among the most dangerous books in the world.

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Author information

Christopher B. Krebs is a classics professor at Harvard University whose academic publications include extensive work on the ancient historians and a recent contribution to The Cambridge Companion to Tacitus.

Review quote

"...a fascinating perspective..." THE "...the research is deep and the material impressively controlled and narrated. Krebs writes with panache, a vocabulary which puts many native speakers of English to shame..." Christopher Whitton, Times Literary Supplement "Krebs tells this dramatic detective story...very deftly." London Review of Books "...delicious study..." Ferdinand Mount, TLS Books of the Year 2011 "...a most informative book and a most entertaining one." Minerva