I recently finished Christopher Krebs ‘A Most Dangerous Book’ the blurb of which states that it is about the roman writer Tacitus on how his book the Germania has been abuse throughout the ages.
I found this book to be a real slog to read. So much so that I almost gave up on reading it. Originally, I was attracted to the book by its novel premise unfortunately I don’t feel it delivered on it.
Instead of focusing on placing the book in the context of events e.g. such and such was twisting the Germania for this end because, he wanted to do this and showing what the consequences are the writer spends much more time reminding the reader how erudite he is. Spending page after page quoting the works of various humanists and why they latinised their names.
For example, there is a brief throwaway paragraph on how someone (I forget who) tried to use the Germania to stir up Germanic enthusiasm for the Crusades. This would then be a perfect moment to expand on the role of the myth of Tuetonic warrior and how the Germania fed on and fed this. Instead what we get is what seems like pages and pages of irrelevant information quoting at length what he wrote. This is of course pseudo-racial rubbish that is painfully stupid and dull to listen to.
A real disappointment. There should be an enjoyable book about Tacitus’ Germania out there but this isn’t it.