How crazy was 1939? "A Most Dangerous Book: 2 of 3: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich" by Christopher B. Krebs

Jul 15, 02:22 AM

AUTHOR.

(Photo:1940: Polski: Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler i Karl Wolff oraz inni oficerowie oglądają zniszczony czołg francuski Char B1.

Date June 1940

Source Nac.gov.pl

Author  )

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How crazy was 1939? "A Most Dangerous Book: 2 of 3: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich" by Christopher B. Krebs

https://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Book-Tacituss-Germania-ebook/dp/B005HG51VU/ref=sr11?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1531620465&sr=1-1&keywords=krebs+dangerous+book

From Publishers Weekly

Harvard classics professor Krebs writes a scholarly but lucid account of the abuse of history. Written in 98 C.E. by the Roman official Tacitus, About the Origin and Mores of the Germanic Peoples was lost for centuries but resurfaced around 1500 as Germans were growing resentful of foreign domination—in this case from the Catholic Church in Rome. The rediscovered book launched a primitivist myth that captivated admirers over the next 500 years, from Martin Luther to Heinrich Himmler, who loved its portrayal of ancient Germans as freedom-loving warriors, uncultured but honorable, in contrast to decadent Romans. In fact, Tacitus probably never visited Germany, Krebs notes. Rather, using books and travelers' reports, he wrote for a Roman audience who shared his romantic view of northern barbarians. Enthusiastic German readers, culminating in the Nazis, ignored Tacitus's disparaging comments, misread passages to confirm their prejudices, and proclaimed that the ancient historian confirmed their national superiority. This is an inventive analysis of, and warning against, an irresistible human yearning to find written proof of one's ideology. Illus. (May) 

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Christopher B. Krebs, a classics professor at Stanford University, has published widely on the Roman historians and their afterlives.