Adrian Murdoch, known to most of us through his blog Bread and circuses, has a new book out:
In his introduction, which partially may be read here, he writes:
[Although] Arminius and Varus are, naturally enough, part of Germany’s national consciousness, their names often warrant barely a flicker of recognition in the English-speaking world. It is fair to say that Roman Germany as a whole, specifically the country’s early history under the first emperors, has been conspicuously ignored outside Germany. Even in the academic field, only a handful of critical book-length studies have appeared in the last thirty years. The sheer volume and variety of discoveries in the last decade alone – archaeological, historical, epigraphic – make this nothing short of a scandal.
He is out to correct this failure and has packed an enormous amount of research and analysis into a mere 200 pages. He further says:
While a deliberately tight focus on the events themselves is paramount, it is also important for the historian to see beyond this, to see the wood beyond the trees. Rome's Greatest Defeat has the secondary aim of highlighting the ways in which the battle has been transmitted through history.
From my lay point of view, he certainly has reached both aims, and his intent to write the book for a non-specialist audience is met by a lively and entertaining style and a lot of interesting minutiae.