June 11, 2011

Hitler's Golden Book

Ferdinand Mount, Wall Street Journal

It is a dark and thrilling thought that a little book can change history. The first edition of the "Communist Manifesto" was only 23 pages long, and look what trouble it caused. It is an even more unnerving thought that a little book can change history without its author meaning to. The "Germania," by the great Latin historian Tacitus, is only 40 pages long in my old Penguin Classics edition. There is no evidence that the author intended much more than to offer the Roman public a short guide to those quarrelsome Northern tribes with whom Rome always seemed to be at war. Yet the most learned of modern historians, Arnaldo Momigliano, called it "one of the hundred most dangerous books ever written."

In his fascinating new study, Christopher Krebs sets out to explain why. Tacitus was...

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Related Topics: Adolf Hitler, Strabo, Arnaldo Momigliano, Rome, author , great Latin historian