Hello everybody. I know that it’s been a while since I last posted anything. I’ve been sick on-and-off for most of the month, and on the few days where I have been well, I was occupied doing other things. But I’m feeling better, and so I’m back.
I decided to post a questionnaire that my publisher sent to me regarding my book. These questions formed the basis of a press release that apparently was sent to all of the newspapers in my area. I’m not sure if any of them actually published the PR. The document in question was a lot shorter, only about three short paragraphs. What you see below is the unedited unabridged version. It gives a better idea of what the book is all about, I think.
- What inspired you to write this book?
I am fascinated by tribal cultures, especially ones from ancient times. I first became aware of the subject of this book years ago when I was in high school when I saw a documentary on the History Channel called The Lost Legions of Varus. The documentary centered upon a battle between the Romans and the Germanic barbarians in the forests of northern Germany in the year 9 AD. I had never heard of the battle before, and I became interested in the subject, but I never thought about seriously pursuing my interest until four years ago. It was the summer of 2009, and I had just graduated with my MA. Bored one day, I decided to take a look at the two books that I owned on the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest so that I could do some illustrations. I had read them when I first purchased them, but they had been sitting on my shelf collecting dust since then. I was aware that 2009 marked the 2000th anniversary of the battle, and it rekindled my curiosity in the subject. As I re-read the books, I became more and more interested in the story of this battle. I wanted to know more, and I did some more research on the subject. Eventually, this passing interest took on a life of its own, and I dedicated myself to writing a book on the subject.
- Summarize your book in one to three sentences.
The book is about the Battle of Teutoburg (notice that I did not call it the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, as it is commonly called; I explain why I do this in the book) in terms of the events leading up to it, the battle itself, and the battle’s aftermath. It’s very heavily researched and relies considerably on primary and secondary source analysis.
- What is the overall theme of your book?
The book really doesn’t have a theme, per se. It’s just a narrative trying to give readers the most complete, accurate, and in-depth picture of the events surrounding this battle.
- Where does this book take place?
The book centers on the Battle of Teutoburg, which took place in northern Germany in late September of 9 AD. During that time, much of modern-day Germany was under the control of the Roman Empire. However, the book also goes into a lot of background material in order to “set the scene”, all the way back to Rome’s first contact with the Germanic tribes, the wars that they fought, cultural exchange, and so forth. It also discusses the events after the battle, including Rome’s reaction, the deaths of the main characters, and the legacy of the battle in modern times.
- Who are the main characters and why are they important to the story?
The two main characters in the story are Publius Quinctilius Varus, the Roman governor of the newly-created province of Germania Magna, and Arminius, a German tribal prince who was working for Governor Varus and who would later lead a native rebellion against the Roman occupiers. They are important because firstly they are the leaders of the two opposing sides, and secondly because they show the great social and cultural difference between the Roman way of doing things and the native German way of life. Varus was first and foremost a bureaucrat and administrator who was interested in making this province as Roman as possible. Arminius, by contrast, although initially a collaborator, wanted his people to be independent of Roman rule and to restore them to the independence and liberty that they had known before their land had been conquered.
- Why do you think that this book will appeal to readers?
The story of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, as it is commonly known, is a popular subject among history and military buffs. Most people who are interested in ancient, Roman, or military history have heard of this battle. Several books have been written about this subject within the past fifteen years, some scholarly and academic, others for entertainment. Some may wonder why I chose to write about something that has already been written about extensively; they may ask “Hasn’t this subject been covered enough, already?” Well, if all that I did was to simply repeat what other people have said without providing any original ideas at all, then my book wouldn’t be worth much. However, I’ve done a lot of my own original research on this subject, and I have come up with new hypotheses and conclusions regarding this battle and the people involved in it, things which, to my knowledge, have not been touched upon by other writers. Therefore, all of this new material should make the book worth looking at.
- How is your book relevant in today’s society?
Not to sound provocative, especially with what’s going on nowadays in many parts of the world, but the story of a more powerful and more technologically-advanced culture trying to remold a weaker and less-advanced culture in its own image is still around. The ideas of “nation building” are just as relevant in modern times as they were to the ancient Romans, especially when the underlying intention is to make them potential allies and possibly puppets of the other country. The book is also relevant in terms of what’s happening nowadays to many modern tribal peoples. In many parts of the world today, indigenous societies are under threat from modernism in terms of urban sprawl, environmental devastation, and the gradual extinction of their cultures in terms of how they live, how they dress, what they eat, what religion they follow, and what languages they speak. Naturally, some people resist, sometimes politically, sometimes violently.
- What do you want readers to take away from your writing?
Ideally, I would like them to say that it’s a really good book! I hope that those who are interested in this subject will read what I have written, agree with a lot of my ideas, and conclude that I did a good job in terms of writing the book and explaining the subject matter. I would like people to have an increased interest in this subject and this time period, and I would really be happy if my book was read and discussed amongst college students, professional historians, ordinary history buffs, and ancient re-enactors.
If you want to check out more information on my new book Four Days in September: The Battle of Teutoburg, you can visit the book’s official website at http://www.fourdaysinseptemberbook.com/.
Four Days in September is available in hardcover, softcover, and e-book versions. You can order it directly from Trafford Publishing. You can also order it from Barnes & Noble and Amazon.