- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Short Books Ltd; 8th Impression edition (2 Nov. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1904977545
- ISBN-13: 978-1904977544
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.6 x 20.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 47 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 196,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Amo, Amas, Amat ... and All That: How to Become a Latin Lover Hardcover – 2 Nov 2006
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If you know someone who missed out on Latin at school and wants to live a happier life, you could do no better than give them Harry Mount's entertainingly educative Latin primer --Daily Mail
Amo, Amas, Amat... is a diverting meander and Mount's love of Latin shines out on every page --The Spectator
Latin without the pain --Guardian --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Harry Mount read Classics at Oxford and was a Latin tutor before becoming New York correspondent of the Daily Telegraph. His memoir of his time as a barrister's pupil, My Brief Career - the Trials of a Young Lawyer is also published by Short Books.
Top customer reviews
Mount introduces accidence by dodging back and forth with bits from Kennedy's primer, which is all very well, and quoting the paradigms fills out the pages nicely. His few perfunctory stabs at syntax are hardly likely to give a proper feel for the structure of sentences. If you want to study the thing as a whole, better buy the (complete) Kennedy, treat it as a reference book, and look for a properly structured way in which to learn the language (which this certainly is not). The gratuitous attacks on the Cambridge Latin Course and (more personally) its director are distasteful in the extreme -- and I have no axe to grind on behalf of either.
The odd diversions on teachers, emperors and so on might have a place if integrated into a serious attempt to describe the Romans and their language. If this be intended as such an attempt, it fails -- not least when Mount appears to discount, for instance, Vespasian and Diocletian.
Latin deserves better than this wretched ramble round the subject. I suppose that the book may rekindle enthusiasm among a few people who studied the language at school; I doubt that it would attract anyone without previous knowledge; surely, no teacher could make serious use of it?
I think the discrepancies in the reviews above are largely due to people's misguided expectations of the book. It is not (nor could it possibly be used as) a reference work by which one could expect to learn the language. Its audience is probably limited to those who already have a reasonable knowledge of Latin, and, put simply, the author aims to reward your knowledge (no matter how basic) with some clever 'in jokes' and literary references. He does so, in my opinion, with a good deal of skill and success.
There is a quite unpleasant whiff of elitism in the whole project and you can imagine the Mount household where the kids all had latin nicknames for each other... but if he really wants to encourage people to become 'latin lovers' surely that kind of exclusionism should be stamped on quite emphatically? Is learning latin (as opposed to French or German or Russian or Italian or any other language) really the route to some kind of nineteenth-century moral high-ground? I'd like to think not, but I'm afraid this book seems to me to be stuck in some kind of British, imperialist, public-school time-warp.
I wasn't clear whether Mount was trying to teach me Latin or not. His presentation of grammatical tables, without much in the way of explanation or context, would be of little help to someone wanting to learn the subject, and unnecessary for someone who knows the language. It wasn't clear to me why he included them at all, unless to fill up space. As someone who has learnt a number of languages I wouldn't advise anyone to use this book as a beginner.
By the end I was left feeling that the book had given rather a poor impression of Latin and I was less, rather than more, interested in the subject.
The book contains frequent vulgarities, making it inappropriate for children.
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A book you could only enjoy if you have no sense of the real world.
A box of matches
Several bottles of gin
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