A Most Dangerous Book -- Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich by Christopher B. Krebs, Norton '11, $25.95, 303 pages, ASIN #0393062651. Index, notes, no bibliography, b&w images sprinkled through text.
From the dust jacket:
"When, at the height of the Roman Empire, the historian Tacitus wrote a none-too-flattering book about the German tribes, he could not have foreseen that it would be distorted into claiming Germanic superiority and, ultimately, become the perfect vehicle for Nazi ideology.
"....According to Tacitus, although the German people were loyal and physically strong, they were uncultured and unsophisticated, almost primitive. Inaccurate and largely speculative, his narrative lay dormant for centuries. When the manuscript was rediscovered in the fifteenth century, however, a new reading started to emerge, focusing on his mentions of Germanic purity, loyalty, and strength.
"Over the next 500 years, the Germania was reinterpreted and misinterpreted, invoked and manipulated to promote political agendas. Meanwhile, the manuscript itself took on talismanic significance, leading scholars, nobles, and even the pope to attempt to buy or steal it."
Author Christopher B. Krebs, a classics professor at Harvard University, received numerous fellowships to pursue research for this book.
The Lumiere Autochrome -- History, Technology, and Preservation by Bertrand Lavedrine and Jean-Paul Gandolfo, the Getty Conservation Institute '13 in oversized format on glossy stock, 386 pages, ASIN #1606061259. Index, bibliography, notes, b&w and color glossy images.
From the front cover:
"Although Auguste and Louise Lumiere are best known in the United States for their seminal role in the invention of cinema, their most important contribution to the history of photography was the autochrome, a technique that in the first decade of the 20th century made color photography accessible to amateurs for the first time.
"Simple in its essentials -- the autochrome plate is basically a layer of dyed starch granules covered with a black-and-white photographic emulsion -- the material is extremely complex in its detailed structure, and its commercial release in 1907 came only after a decade of research and development during which its creators sought out solutions to the problems of industrial-scale production.
"The knowledge they gained was carefully protected from competitors by a network of patents and by a policy of strict secrecy in the Lumiere factory at Monplaisir, on the outskirts of Lyon, Indeed, while the aesthetics of the autochrome have been thoroughly studied, the precise steps that led the Lumiere brothers to perfect the manufacturing process have never been fully documented or understood -- until now."
About the authors:
Bertrand Lavedrine is a professor at the Museum National d'histoire naturelle and director of the Centre de recherche sur la conservation des collections (CRCC) in Paris. Jean-Paul Gandolfo teaches at the Ecole ationale supericure Louis Lumiere in Paris.