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Battles Of The Bible (Greenhill Military Paperback) Paperback – February 14, 2002

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Editorial Reviews


Battles Of The Bible presents a comprehensive survey of the wars of ancient Israel. The Bible's military accounts (told in vivid detail) cover a vast period, from the invasion of Canaan by the Israelites under Joshua's command, through the conquest of the kingdom by David and Solomon, and the split of the kingdom into Judah and Israel, to the Maccabees' successful rebellion against Seleucid domination. The reliability of these accounts is supported by their technical accuracy and by descriptions of topographic conditions peculiar to specific battlefields. They bear comparison with military campaigns well after the biblical era, and provide strategic and tactical lessons of value even today. Battles Of The Bible is a fascinating and valuable work, not only for its exacting scrutiny of biblical accounts, but also for its insight into their wider and continuing relevance. Battles Of The Bible is an importance contribution to Old Testament studies, biblical archaeology, and military history. -- Midwest Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Chaim Herzog, a former president of Israel, was also the author of The Arab-Israeli Wars and an expert on the history of the Holy Land. Mordechai Gichon is a military historian and has held major academic positions at Tel Aviv University.

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Product Details

  • Series: Greenhill Military Paperback
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Greenhill Books; Revised edition (February 14, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185367477X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853674778
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,255,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Brucia on July 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is a top notch book about military science and history. It shows how the Israelites penetrated into the Middle Eastern landbridge, displaced the Caananites from the highlands, expanded their power into the vallies (where the chariot was king), and extended their power over satellite states (and periodically lost control over them). -- A wealth of tactical maps and diagrams (38), drawings (45), and photographs (53) make all the difference! A chronological table is another helpful aid. What this book does NOT have are regional and theater level maps. [I used Rogerson's Atlas of the Bible, a miserable Time-Life book saved only by excellent maps to see the larger picture. Any good historical map with a 1 mile = 1 inch or similar scale would work, too!]. --- Readers should be aware that 238 of the 271 pages of text (88%) are the work of Mordechai Gichon; 33 pages (12%) are attributed to Chaim Herzog. --- Extensive crossreferences to the English language Christian Bible (e.g. Judg. 7:4-7) allow one to read more extensively about certain epochs. I used the New International Version, and had little difficulties following the politics, tactical maneuvering, and logistical issues of different campaigns. -- This volume is also well written: clear; concise; without ideological or religious jargon; and neither pretenious nor 'academic'. A good book. For those who like military history, and enjoy a lot of detail, this is a great read!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Andrew K. Wong on March 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Werner Keller ended his Introduction to the 2nd revised edition of his landmark "The Bible as History" by concluding, "The Bible is right after all!" What "The Bible as History" did for the historicity of the Bible, this book does for the Bible's narrative of military history. It is outstanding in every way and the only work which puts it all together so accessibly and logically. The authors draw on all available sources and the work is therefore copiously footnoted and illustrated. It is a "must have" for any person interested in Biblical history. The other customers reviews posted below describe the book in deserving detail.
Until this book, the value of the Bible as a handbook of military tactics has not been remotely plumbed in appropriate depth. It is a great loss both to any soldier and to the general public because the Old Testament's accounts of battles contain a treasure trove of military strategies. In several places in the Bible, God explicitly tells the Israelites how to negotiate the terrain He created to defeat an enemy. When the Israelites follow God's instructions, they always win. This is remarkable given the Israelites' lack of heavy weapons, armor and equipment in the face of enemies with superior numbers and armament. This book explains the great geographical significance of the terrain, roads and cities of Palestine that are so vital to the land but mean so little to us. Place names of little towns is Israel that we skim over in the narrative from Joshua to II Chronicles suddenly become real and alive.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Philip B. Yochim on January 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
For any serious scholar of the Bible, Middle East, or military history, this book is a must-have! It hits the trifecta of excellent research, modern relevence, and an exciting read. While the authors tend to be a bit skeptical of divine influence, they still illustrate how the Bible remains a truthful historical account.
The authors take the reader on a detailed look of the history of the ancient Israelites from the days following the Exodus to the gripping accounts of the war of the Maccabees. They regularly use not only the Bible, but extra historical accounts to make their case in detail. It becomes all the more interesting when they demonstrate how other armies used similar tactics in the same area, be they Israelites, Arabs, Crusaders, Turks, or the British.
Again, I highly recommend this book for wishing to learn a more complete picture of the wonderful book, the Bible.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jay A. Haron on March 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
It is common knowledge that Israelis, in general, are fanatical about their unique archeology. It is also not surprising that IDF veteran and scholar Mordechai Gachon and President Chaim Herzog would know volumes about Israel's military history. What surprised me most was their ability to take the strategies and tactics from millenia in the past and compare them with campaigns fought in the exact same regions thousands of years later and show how little has changed.

In spite of the agnostic points-of-view of the authors, this book made the Old Testament (OT) histories come alive. I consider myself well-informed concerning the OT, but I never appreciated the accuracy and insights about military strategy that can be gained from careful study of the Bible. I knew great insights were contained concerning political structure and leadership, but I never thought of the Bible as a primer on military strategy. It is.

The authors set the stage for each epoch with a thorough review of the technology of the time and the relative strengths and weaknesses of the peoples involved. They also develop the political structures of the local tribes. Then they illustrate how the Israelites, and later the peoples of Israel and Judah, used their strengths, and the weaknesses of their opponents, to achieve victories (and defeats) against armies that have them outmanned and out-armed. Then they confirm it all with recent archeological findings.

By the time I finished reading about the Maccabean era, there was no doubt that the OT contained precise details of the trials faced by the Jewish people from the time of Moses to the dawn of the Roman Era. Once again, the Bible has proven to be accurate and authoritative.

The book is written in a fairly terse style, packed with detail and no unnecessary verbage. For the serious student of the Biblical World or the Old Testament, it is a must-read. My time was very well spent.
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