Tim Blanning

Teutonic Troubles

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

By

W W Norton 303pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Not many foreign sobriquets sound better in English than in their original language. One of them is Herman the German, which is certainly more catchy than Hermann der Cherusker. Leader of the Cherusci, a Germanic tribe, he lived from 17 BC to AD 21, and in AD 9 inflicted a crushing defeat on a Roman army led by Publius Quinctilius Varus at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Although next to nothing is known about him, he was to enjoy colossal posthumous fame as a symbol of resistance to imperialism. Mythmaker-in-chief was the Roman politician and historian Tacitus, who hailed him as ‘Germany’s liberator’, a mighty hero who had successfully challenged the Roman Empire at the peak of its power.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'One of the best aspects of Kaufmann’s book is its optimism' Here's @BurlM11's review of @epkaufm's Whiteshift. ,
    • Whom did Picasso label a 'bristly pig'? Read Rosalind P Blakesley's review of The Collector by Natalya Semenova to… ,
    • Alexandra Gajda on Anna Beer's new biography, Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh ,
    • Mark Lawson reviews @jonathancoe's Middle England - The Rotters' Club for our Brexit age. ,
    • 'Behind every book that is published lies ... a haunted landscape, populated by the ghosts of things written and ex… ,
    • 'We once more live in a great age of dragon invention' Here's Tom Shippey on Martin Arnold's The Dragon ,
    • RT : Man at the q&a part of the book panel: Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't s… ,