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Not much of a book
on 29 December 2006
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?