Martin Mulcahey's Reviews > Rome's Greatest Defeat: Massacre in the Teutoburg Forest

Rome's Greatest Defeat by Adrian Murdoch
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's review
Mar 20, 2011

really liked it

I like the fact that Mr. Murdoch does not draw conclusions where facts or reasonable deduction preclude them, particularly when it comes to the two main players in this saga. He does an admirable job of avoiding the various cults of personality around Arminius and Varus, detailing the biases of the day and of the Roman historians that passed down history as they interpreted it. By doing so he expunged some of the negatives heaped upon Varus, while fully accounting for Varus' complicatedness in the disaster. Men and women on the periphery of the battle, and their roles, are well explored, as well as how Arminius and the battle was perceived by the German people through the centuries. This is an all encompassing book. I did not give it five stars because the writing did lack passion IMO, especially when it came to the battle itself where I would have forgiven the author for more conjecture and a infusion of flair. The scholarly tone left me wanting more in that chapter, but is otherwise not out of place for such a historic moment in time.
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