Author Topic: Give Me Back My Legions! - Harry Turtledove  (Read 9414 times)

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Offline Gunny

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Give Me Back My Legions! - Harry Turtledove
« on: April 29, 2011, 11:13:23 AM »
Just finished reading this a few days ago.  And I must say it was excellent.  If you are a fan of history this one you may like.

It's about Pablius Varus and the events leading up to the Battle of Teutoburg Forest as well as the ill-fated battle itself.

In case you aren't familiar with Varus or the battle itself let me give you the Gunny's no-sh***er breakdown.  This battle is probably one of the biggest clusterf***s in military history.  It was one blunder after another.  Everything that could go wrong did.  Varus is probably known today as the worst military leader in the history of earth.  He lost THREE LEGIONS of Roman soldiers.  And how did he do that?  Simple.  He got tricked by someone he thought he trusted, got suckered into what should have been an obvious ambush and then got everyone slaughtered in a dense, swampy, forest in a nasty storm by by vicious, barbaric, Germanic tribesmen despite outnumbering them by at least 2 to 1.  It's hands-down one of, if not THE biggest military blunder of all-time.

When it was all over Varus lost over 20,000 men (almost everyone was slaughtered) while the Germanic tribesmen only lost around 500.

The book gets it's name from when word finally got back to Emperor Augustus (who normally was very calm and not very emotional) that Varus had lost 3 legions (the 17th, 18th and 19th) he was so visibly shaken and enraged he screamed "Varus, give me back my legions!!!!!"  It shook him hard and reports were that he mumbled that line several times afterwards, even saying it while banging his head against walls.

If that sort of thing interests you I highly recommend this book.  I was always fascinated with this battle since I was a little kid.  This particular book just came out a year or two ago.

I give it a 4 out of 5.

"Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death" - Sun Tzu

Offline ExGeeEye

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Re: Give Me Back My Legions! - Harry Turtledove
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2011, 11:21:06 AM »
I know Turtledove as a writer of fictional, aternative "history".  Does this one postulate, for instance, that Varus didn't fall for the trick and the battle ended differently, or something like that?
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Offline Gunny

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Re: Give Me Back My Legions! - Harry Turtledove
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2011, 11:33:03 AM »
I know Turtledove as a writer of fictional, aternative "history".  Does this one postulate, for instance, that Varus didn't fall for the trick and the battle ended differently, or something like that?

While Turtledove is indeed known for his fictional, alternate history novels, this one is factual and historical.  I thought the same thing as you when I saw who the author was.  I almost didn't order it when I saw it was him but after some quick research I saw this was an accurate representation of the battle and events leading up to it.
"Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death" - Sun Tzu

Offline DumbAss Tanker

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Re: Give Me Back My Legions! - Harry Turtledove
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2011, 02:43:22 PM »
May have look for that one, I like his fictional writing but he tends to milk his premise long after it has run its course ($$$) and also project contemporary thoughts and values into the past in a seriously strained manner.
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Offline Gunny

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Re: Give Me Back My Legions! - Harry Turtledove
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2011, 03:02:08 PM »
May have look for that one, I like his fictional writing but he tends to milk his premise long after it has run its course ($$$) and also project contemporary thoughts and values into the past in a seriously strained manner.

I think you'll like this one.  It's very different than his others.  It's extremely historically accurate.

One thing he does in it that I liked was he switches from different characters throughout so you get different perspectives and point of views. 

This is just one battle that has always fascinated me. 
"Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death" - Sun Tzu