A Most Dangerous Book by Christopher B. Krebs
Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich

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Synopsis

Winner of the 2012 Christian Gauss Book Award


"A model of popular intellectual history. . . . In every way, A Most Dangerous Book is a most brilliant achievement."--Washington Post


When the Roman historian Tacitus wrote the Germania, a none-too-flattering little book about the ancient Germans, he could not have foreseen that centuries later the Nazis would extol it as "a bible" and vow to resurrect Germany on its grounds. But the Germania inspired--and polarized--readers long before the rise of the Third Reich. In this elegant and captivating history, Christopher B. Krebs, a professor of classics at Harvard University, traces the wide-ranging influence of the Germania
, revealing how an ancient text rose to take its place among the most dangerous books in the world.
 

About Christopher B. Krebs

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Christopher B. Krebs, a classics professor at Harvard University, has published widely on the Roman historians and their afterlives. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.
 
Published August 15, 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company. 305 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus’ short early work Germania, written just after the reign of the tyrant Domitian and probably as a political challenge in the ongoing war against the northern barbarian tribes, had been lost during the Dark Ages, then resurrected during the Renaissance and eventua...

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The New York Times

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An adviser to Frederick the Great, citing Tacitus, called the German people “still the same aboriginal and indigenous nation which has preserved its independence, its name and its language from its origin to this day.” Fichte, Herder, Grimm — they and many others repeated the main Tacitean tropes.

Jun 10 2011 | Read Full Review of A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitu...

Publishers Weekly

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Harvard classics professor Krebs writes a scholarly but lucid account of the abuse of history.

Feb 28 2011 | Read Full Review of A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitu...

The Wall Street Journal

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Heinrich Böll, the Nobel Prize-winning German novelist, is reproved by Mr. Krebs for being naïve in finding Tacitus's book "surprisingly up to date" and the description of German songs "rather familiar" when he re-read the book in the 1970s.

Jun 17 2011 | Read Full Review of A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitu...

London Review of Books

More remarkably still, they could find them in New England as well: ‘The little settlement unconsciously reverted to the forms of village community life, and the Germania of Tacitus was more than suggested in the town at Quinnipiac.’ The historian who examined the ancient deeds of Salem or Marble...

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Bookmarks Magazine

Norton & Company Product Description The riveting story of the Germania and its incarnations and exploitations through the ages.The pope wanted it, Montesquieu used it, and the Nazis pilfered an Italian noble's villa to ...

Jun 14 2011 | Read Full Review of A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitu...

The Moderate Voice

Meanwhile, my book reading diet has always been on the heavy side, witness A Most Dangerous Book, so I have tried to leaven it with quirky and offbeat books.

Nov 18 2011 | Read Full Review of A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitu...

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