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Masada (Paperback)

Mass Suicide in the First Jewish-Roman War, c. AD 73

Ancient History Rome Military

By Phil Carradice
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: History of Terror
Pages: 128
ISBN: 9781526728975
Published: 11th February 2019

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In the spring of 73 AD the rock fortress of Masada on the western shore of the Dead Sea was the site of an event that was breathtaking in its courage and self-sacrifice. Here the last of the Jewish Zealots who, for nearly eight years, had waged war against the Roman occupiers of their country made their last stand.

The Zealots on Masada had withstood a two-year siege but with Roman victory finally assured, they were faced by two options: capture or death. They chose the latter and when the Roman legions forced their way into the hill fort the following morning they were met only with utter silence by row upon row of bodies. Rather than fall into enemy hands the 960 men, women and children who had defended the fortress so heroically had committed suicide.

The story of the siege and eventual capture of Masada is unique, not just in Israeli legend but in the history of the world. It is a story of bravery that even the Roman legionaries, well used to death and brutality, could see and appreciate. It was a massacre but a massacre with a difference: carried out by the victims themselves. The story of Masada has gone down in Israeli and Jewish folklore. It is little known elsewhere and it is time to redress the balance.

The structure of this book is excellent. Amply assisted by a number of relevant images, the text builds to a crescendo in the final chapters, where Carracide provides a superb example of careful and thought-provoking historical writing. Enjoyable, engaging, informative and sensitively written, with a careful eye on modern times, Carradice’s book is ‘must have’ for any reader, and particularly any student, who wishes to not only understand the events at Massada, but also seeks a demonstration in the art of careful historical analysis.

Zack White, Freelance

About Phil Carradice

Phil Carradice is a poet, novelist and historian. He has written over fifty books, the most recent being The Call-up: A Study of Peacetime Conscription in Britain and Napoleon in Defeat and Captivity. He presents the BBC Wales history programme The Past Master and is a regular broadcaster on both TV and radio. A native of Pembroke Dock, he now lives in the Vale of Glamorgan but travels extensively in the course of his work. Educated at Cardiff University and at Cardiff College of Education, Phil Carradice is a former head teacher but now lives as a full-time writer.

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