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3.2 out of 5 stars
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3.2 out of 5 stars
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This is a very odd book that I quite enjoyed reading but I wondered throughout the whole thing who Mount thought he was writing for? As some of the previous reviwers here have said, if you know (or knew Latin) then you weren't going to learn anything new; and if you don't, then this certainly isn't going to teach you. The mix of witty stories, interspersed with hard-core grammatical tables is just too odd.

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.
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on 31 January 2014
This book is just dull, just when you think it's about to get going it slows down, it's almost like its deliberate, as if the author Is padding out the book to make up for lack of content.

And the price is ridiculous, you couldn't give this book away.

It came as no surprise to learn the author is a failed lawyer and lazy journalist (in my opinion)

Shame on the publisher for printing
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on 19 April 2007
Although Mount's lighthearted commentary is certainly entertaining, there seems no reason for the grammar tables optimistically placed every few pages, as there is no hope at all that a beginner would learn any real Latin from his brief and often completely incorrect explanations. He is also a outrageous hypocrite: he embarks at the end of the book upon a self-indulgent rant about how Latin and Greek are in decline and not being taught well anymore. This, after he has just presented the very epitome of modern `dumbing-down', which would make Kennedy turn in his grave. Overall, this is a bizarre book, not to be recommended.
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on 13 January 2007
A truly interesting book, with lots of useful bits of Latin along the way. A newcomer to the Latin language may not find it useful as a guide to the language, but it certainly holds many useful tables, as well as interesting information and a very comprehensive list of Latin phrases used in English. And those of us GCSE students who have been through the pleasures of Caecilius being in the garden whilst Cerberus eats all of the food before barking at Grumio's snoring, and can still decline 5th declension nouns and use gerunds will just have to grin and bear it.
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on 31 January 2014
People who bought this item also bought...

A shredder
An incinerator
A box of matches
Several bottles of gin
Paracetamol

Q.E.D.
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on 31 January 2014
Do not buy this book.Can't be bothered to waste my time explaining why just read the other 1 star reviews and take NO notice of anything with more than one star.
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on 8 January 2007
I have wanted to learn Latin for a while and had hoped this book would do it for me. Not a chance! The book reduces the subject to a set of ill-explained tables and some trivia. Surely there's more to the subject than that? 1 out of 10. Must do better.
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on 31 January 2014
Do not waste your money on this rubbish. Spend your money on Peter and Jayne books, trust me they are a much better read!!
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VINE VOICEon 9 August 2008
While this book amounts on one level to a light-hearted but informative take on Latin, its learning and its relentless demise in British schools, the (rather angry) final chapter left me confused as to what the author was actually trying to do.

As might be expected from a person of Harry Mount's standing, there is much humour in this piece; indeed, at times, the jocular tone and somewhat self-conscious attempts to jemmy in a joke at all costs serve to interrupt the flow and can become a smidge irritating and make the author seem a little too pleased with himself.

However, the final chapter, with its rather spiteful attack on modern textbooks and methods, sits rather uneasily with the tone of the rest of the book and gives the impression, rightly or wrongly, that Mount's intention was rather more serious than he might originally have implied. All in all, a rather confusing conclusion to a book which is certainly well worth reading by anyone who remembers those dark times of learning Latin declensions and cases by rote.
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on 1 February 2014
Absolute rubbish he claims to be factual, funny even but he should really go back to school.... Only entertaining for people wish a shallow and narrow perspective of life.
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