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The Jewish Revolt AD 66-74 (Campaign) Paperback – October 22, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Campaign
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (October 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780961839
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780961835
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Si Sheppard is a Professor of American Government and Politics at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York. This is his fourth Osprey title, following a trilogy detailing the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Empire.

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Customer Reviews

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Great illustrations and colored maps, too.
Karolus Magnus
The opposing commanders are introduced, as well as the opposing armies and their war-aims, before the narrative switches to the campaign itself.
D. C. Stolk
It is a very good thing, giving a very solid general idea about this war and preparing well the ground for further studies.
Maciej

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. C. Stolk on November 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"The Jewish Revolt AD 66-74" by Si Sheppard, a volume in the Osprey Campaign series, is a superb account of how an army of peasant guerrillas fought against the most powerful empire and war machine of antiquity: The Roman Army.
The Jewish Revolt started when a local disturbance in Caesarea caused by Greeks sacrificing birds in front of a local synagogue exploded into a pan-Jewish revolt against their Roman overlords. It was finally ended when the last Jewish remnants of the revolt, who held out in the mountain fortress of Masada until AD 73, committed mass suicide when the Romans were breaking down the walls, bringing the revolt to an end.

"The Jewish Revolt AD 66-74" provides, in 96 pages, a concise presentation of the Roman campaign to crush the rebellion. The opposing commanders are introduced, as well as the opposing armies and their war-aims, before the narrative switches to the campaign itself. It was a campaign mainly of sieges, and those of Jotapata, the seaport Joppa and Gischala to give an example are covered. Most of the attention is given to the five-month siege of Jerusalem in the summer of AD 70, which ended with the fall and destruction of the city amid dreadful atrocities. Even by Roman standards, the human toll was appalling. But Jewish resistance was not broken yet, and this is also covered in this Campaign-title. Isolated redoubts still remained in rebel hands. Masada was one of them, on the western bank of the Dead Sea. Although a postscript to the Revolt, this is the best-known part of it to the general public (see below). The Roman Flavius Silva led the siege of Masada, which lasted three years, and the ensuing "death before dishonor" resolution of the Sicarii holdouts has gone down in history as the famous last stand of a defiant-until-death Jewish nation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
First posted on Amazon.co.uk on 20 October 2013

This was in my view one of the better Campaign titles, with none of the biases that I have found in a number of other books on the Jewish revolts against the Romans. The historical context of the campaign, the campaign (or rather the series of campaigns) culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem, and the aftermath, with the two main subsequent revolts, are presented clearly, concisely and yet as comprehensively as possible.

The main Roman characters come out well, including rash and impatient Titus who almost got himself killed a couple of times and ordered his men into quasi-suicidal attacks a couple of other time. Also well depicted is the cautious, systematic and methodical generalship of his father Vespasian, who laid out the groundwork of the campaign and left his son to finish it off by besieging and taking Jerusalem. The Jewish leaders are presented in less detail, although their violent and bloody internal conflicts, and the damage that this did to their cause, are well rendered. Also well shown is the way in which they managed to squander whatever mobile forces they had towards the beginning of the insurrection in an ill-conceived attack on Ascalon.

The various operations are generally well described, from Vespasian's methodical campaign to reconquer each and every city to the interminable and bitter siege of Jerusalem. Both are described in detail, step by step, and well-illustrated through well-chosen photos and plates. The failure of the Governor of Syria's first attempt to crush the insurrection is mostly also well told. However, although a humiliating defeat, it may not have been the utter disaster that it is sometimes portrayed to be. The core reason for this defeat is clearly shown.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Karolus Magnus on October 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nice concise look at the First Jewish Revolt, designed for casual readers. I know there are many other books out there about the topic but this one beats them all - pound for pound (or page for page, in this case). The author has written a number of Osprey campaign titles before - mostly about major Roman battles like Actium and Philippi (check it out) so he obviously knows his stuff. Great illustrations and colored maps, too.

Like the previous reviewer noted, the book is unbiased and is pretty much neutral on the divisive religo-political dimensions of the conflict, concentrating more on the military side - which is what the Osprey Campaign series are all about. It contains details about Vespasian's methodical and deliberate campaign that you'll be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Most works published about the Revolt - written by agenda-driven Western academics - glosses over the military aspect and are politically (and annoyingly) pro-Jewish. When it comes to the narrative of the Great Revolt, Romans and Greeks (the majority ethnic/cultural group of the eastern mediterranean at the time) rarely get a fair shake. There's a short summary of other Jewish uprisings which followed in the later centuries including the Bar Kochva revolt - which IMO deserves its own Osprey title. Buy this, its a keeper.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on January 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
Most historical works on Ancient Warfare follow either one of two methodological paths: either basing their narrative on an Ancient literary source, such as Caesar or Thucydides, or basing their narrative on modern archaeological findings. In Osprey’s The Jewish Revolt AD 66-74 by veteran historian Dr. Si Sheppard, the author is fortunate in having a plethora of resources. The Jewish War, written by Josephus in the 1st Century AD, provides the literary backdrop and that other included an extraordinary amount of detail for an Ancient writer. Furthermore, since most of the action of the Jewish Revolt occurred around Jerusalem, there has been a tremendous amount of modern archaeology that fills in many details missing from Josephus’ account. Dr. Sheppard is a veteran writer and he skillfully weaves together both literary and archaeological details to construct a historical narrative of the campaign that is both eloquent and gripping. When combined with excellent maps and attractive artwork by Peter Dennis, The Jewish Revolt AD 66-74 becomes a superb addition to Osprey’s Campaign series.

The author spends a dozen pages outlining the overall situation in Judea in the mid-First Century AD and the initial outbreak of the Jewish Revolt in AD 66. The retreat – and defeat – of the 12th Legion is covered in detail and Peter Dennis’ artwork complements this action, which really sets the stage for what followed. In essence, the Romans lost the province quickly and had their local forces badly defeated, so reconquest of the rebellious province became the order of the day. The author also makes clear that this campaign was bitterly fought by both sides from the beginning, with no quarter becoming the norm. The usual sections on opposing commanders and opposing armies are quite good.
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