The standard Latin textbook in America for the latter half of the 20th century, Wheelock's Latin remains the most accessible and comprehensive single-volume introduction to Latin available. Whether study is guided by a teacher or self-directed, students will find clear instruction in the text and appropriate exercises in the workbook, as well as a growing number of supplemental texts to help them through the rough spots.
Originally published in 1956 and authored by Harvard professor Frederic M. Wheelock, Wheelock's Latin focuses simultaneously on grammar and vocabulary so that students' knowledge grows more or less organically. This isn't an immersion course, however; rules of grammar and usage are carefully analyzed and drilled to ensure internalization, while rote memorization is a key to success with this text.
At the center of the course is the Wheelock's Latin textbook, providing 40 chapter lessons and extensive appendices, dictionaries and indices. All in-text exercise answers are included in the back, as well as supplemental exercises for each chapter. The workbook contains 40 corresponding lessons; each page is perforated and consumable, and the answer key is available online. The 6th edition textbook and the 3rd edition workbook are current—there is little difference between them and the previous editions so the two can be used interchangeably.
Wheelock's Latin Reader is a sequel of sorts, presenting excerpts from classic Roman texts for students to translate, specific vocabulary information at the end of each chapter, and a vocabulary index. Dale Grote has authored A Comprehensive Guide to Wheelock's Latin which helps struggling students master difficult concepts and provides extra information and insights. Thirty-Eight Latin Stories offers one brief Latin excerpt and some vocabulary drill corresponding to each of the 40 chapters in Wheelock's Latin. A Wheelock's Latin Course Guide is available from Christian Liberty Press and offers lesson plans for each chapter of the textbook.
This is an introductory course, but it covers far more ground than most similar programs. At the same time, it is both comprehensive and comprehendible and particularly suited to self-directed study. The Wheelock's Latin website offers a variety of supplements to facilitate Latin instruction (including pronunciation audio files) and links to other websites with further information. A modern standard, Wheelock's Latin is as good a resource today as it was on its first publication.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.