Three entire legions of Rome's finest soldiers were slaughtered in the Teutoberg Forest in AD 9. These 20,000 men `represented a quarter of the Roman army stationed north of the Alps. It was a blow from which the empire never recovered'. This accessible study has been written with the aim of restoring the battle to its rightful place as one of the defining battles of European history for, as the book shows, the consequences of Rome's defeat were longlasting. The narrative is a mix; the archaeological evidence from the recently discovered battlefield is always at the forefront. Some of the finds powerfully evoke the horror of that day. This evidence is mixed with that of the few accounts recorded by Rome's patriotic historians and Peter Wells' own `dramatised' version of what might have happened. The battle is firmly placed within its historical setting. Wells discusses, in simple terms, other pivotal events in these first years of empire, before looking at the place of the battle in the Roman psyche and its consequences for Germany. The tribesman Arminius betrayed Rome but for centuries he was a national hero for Germany. There are clear similarities with In Quest of the Lost Legions by Tony Clunn (who located the battle's location) and, while Well's book is a good read and possibly more accessible it is without the depth and sheer enthusiasm of Clunn's account.
"Peter Wells conducts us to a hitherto mysterious and myth-enshrouded place...A journey well worth taking." -- Robert Cowley, editor of What If? "Gives the story in clear and engrossing detail." -- Publishers Weekly "Always literate and learned...Wells is able not only to reconstruct a credible analysis of the German strategy, but also to explore the thoughts and fears of the combatants on both sides as the massacre commenced." -- Kirkus Reviews "Wells does an excellent job of weaving the few written accounts, recent archaeological evidence, and his own interpretation into a compelling story that is fluently written and well organized." -- Library Journal