Jerusalem's Traitor

Jerusalem's Traitor : Josephus, Masada, and the Fall of Judea

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When the Jews revolted against Rome in 66 CE, Josephus, a Jerusalem aristocrat, was made a general in his nation's army. Captured by the Romans, he saved his skin by finding favor with the emperor Vespasian. He then served as an adviser to the Roman legions, running a network of spies inside Jerusalem, in the belief that the Jews' only hope of survival lay in surrender to Rome. As a Jewish eyewitness who was given access to Vespasian's campaign notebooks, Josephus is our only source of information for the war of extermination that ended in the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, and the amazing times in which he lived. He is of vital importance for anyone interested in the Middle East, Jewish history, and the early history of more

Product details

  • Hardback | 344 pages
  • 157.48 x 236.22 x 25.4mm | 544.31g
  • The Perseus Books Group
  • Da Capo Press Inc
  • Cambridge, MA, United States
  • English
  • 8 pages of b/w photographs
  • 0306818078
  • 9780306818073
  • 616,640

About Desmond Seward

Desmond Seward is the author of many books, including The Monks of War, The Hundred Years War, and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He lives in more

Review quote

Booklist, 5/15/09 "A very dynamic narrative pitched to general readers...[who] discover through Seward's apt interrogation how valuable a resource Josephus is for scholars...Considering the symbolism this particular was acquired for the subsequent Jewish story. Seward's astute interpretation and vivid re-creation is a popular-history imperative." Library Journal, 5/1/09 "A lively and descriptive summary of Josephus's life and works...A readable synopsis for generally educated readers...This text would be appropriate for most general readers." Jewish Herald-Voice, 5/14/09 "[Seward] is quite good at handling secondary sources and writing for nonspecialists." Washington Jewish Week, 6/4/09 "This book was written for non-historians interested in this important period of Jewish history. For them, it is highly recommended." Jewish Star, 6/12/09 "This book is a good resource for getting to know this important aspect of a sad era in our history." Jewish Journal, July 2009 "[A] gripping biography." 7/24/09 "Offers an introduction to the life and times of the first-century author of The Jewish War...[A] gripping biography...[A] vivid account." Augusta Metro Spirit, 7/29/09 "Provides a thorough examination of the life of Josephus...A fascinating story, a social and cultural history lesson, and a portrait of an important figure." The Advocate(TN), 7/11/09 "Seward tells the unvarnished truth...This is first rate history, first rate biography." Milwaukee Shepherd-Express, 8/7/09 "Desmond Seward's study of interesting less for what it says about this murky figure than for its vivid sketch of Palestine at a crucial time." Collected Miscellany, 8/12/09 "A compelling story of the life of Josephus as it relates to the first century history of Judea and the Roman Empire...Seward brings an objective eye to his analysis of Josephus...Seward easily discerns Josephus' biases and the biases of his critics...The book is a quick read because of Seward's easy-to-read writing style." History in Review, 9/1 "Writing with the flare of a novelist, Seward not only brings Josephus to life, but also crafts a vivid picture of what caused the Jewish Revolt of 66, the Roman response, and the ongoing conflict which was to influence Jewish history and culture for generations to follow...An insightful biography... Through Josephus, Seward has provided us with a window through which to view the events of this period and their long term consequence...Popular history at its best. Seward tells a rousing tale, one that is well researched and insightful, yet without any of the pedantic word play that often turns readers away from history books." Journal of Military History, October 2009 "Seward has reached his goal to produce a highly readable narrative." Baltimore Jewish Times, 12/18/09 "This book has an eye for dramatic scenes." Biblical Archaeology Review, June 2010 "In assessing the Jewish revolt against the Romans that ended with the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, history must have a vote. Seward is well aware of this and is even-handed in his treatment." Journal of Palestine Studies, Winter2010"A readable account for the general public."show more