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Amo, Amas, Amat... and All That: How to Become a Latin Lover Hardcover – 2 Nov 2006

3.2 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 94,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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 a journalist. He has been a leader-writer and New York correspondent at the Daily Telegraph. His memoir of his time as a barrister's pupil, My Brief Career, is also published by Short Books --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was very surprised to see some of the negative reviews that this book has received here. I am a recently qualified Latin teacher, and I have recent experience of Latin from both sides of the teacher / student divide. I found the book to be thoroughly entertaining and informative, occasionally downright hilarious, and it consistently held my attention.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
I couldn't believe I would enjoy a book based on the latin language and how it might affect the way I go about my life, but having been given a copy of Amo, Amas, Amat I could not put it down. Not only is it written with great wit and intelligence, but it really makes understanding Latin easy in a way I could never have believed possible when it was taught to me at school. Thank you, Harry Mount, for finally bringing Latin to life for me.
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Format: Hardcover
if you've ever dreamed of loving Livy, pleasing Pliny or even hating Horace, if you think the difference between the gerund and the gerundive is just a matter of Hobson's choice, then this is a book for you. The author must have really drunk deeply from his Latin master's cup to be able to impart the pleasures of Latin, but impart them he does. If you liked Gladiator but want to find out about the real thing, then give this a go.
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Format: Hardcover
Other reviewers have asked the question 'Who is this book for?' and that was the question going through my mind as I read it. The juxtaposition of trivia and detailed grammatical explanations is bizarre. The book attempts to be humorous but does not really succeed. This is not a book for someone who wishes to learn Latin as the grammatical explanations given are totally inadequate. Neither is it a book for someone who wishes to obtain a theoretical overview of how Latin works without actually learning the language. A reader who does not wish to learn Latin itself but wishes to learn the meaning of a few common Latin words and phrases would be advised to look elsewhere, such as James Morwood's Dictionary of Latin Words and Phrases, which despite its title, can be read from cover to cover, in small chunks, quite comfortably. Neither would I recommend this book as a refresher for the person who has already learned Latin (which is the reason I read it) as it is too lightweight.

I recognise that certain parts of this book may appeal to individuals who possess a particular type of 'schoolboy' humour, but such individuals (of which the author, presumably, is one) are not likely to be numerous. My general feeling at the end of the book was that I was very disappointed and that I had wasted my time, though fortunately not my money as I had borrowed it from my local public library.
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Format: Hardcover
Mount starts off well enough, with his tales about Beckham having a few tattoos in Latin and so forth and this gives the reader hope that the book will present a modern, vibrant approach to the subject. However, it soon becomes clear that this is a book more appropriate for those who rate an appearance of education above education itself. Mount himself seems to revel in the idea that a knowledge of Latin is important primarily for attempting to show off at dinner parties, and he clearly sees the subject as tool to beat the less educated with. A bitter taste soons builds up and one can't help feeling that it is exclusivism, rather than Latin, that Mount loves.

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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What's the book for?

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?
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