3000 Years of Battles in the Holy Land
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For more than three millennia, the Holy Land has taught lessons in military strategy and tactics, often at a very dear cost. Armed forces spanning the world, spanning centuries and spanning belief systems and ideologies have converged on the territory that is now Israel—to conquer, to defend, to liberate, to convert, to slaughter.
Countless historians, confronting centuries of strife in the Holy Land, have confined themselves to one war, one nationality or one era. Now, in Holy Wars, Gary L. Rashba describes 3,000 years of crucial battles in and around modern-day Israel. His astonishing epoch-crossing narrative focuses on pivotal campaigns beginning with the Israelites’ improbable (and horrendously bloody) capture of Jericho and concluding with the state of Israel’s most recent full-fledged assault against Lebanon in 1982.
Between the aforementioned chronological bookends, Rashba fast-forwards two centuries after Jericho to review the decoy tactics of Deborah and Barak in the Battles of the Judges. He proposes a more plausible interpretation of the David v. Goliath legend amidst the Israelites’ defense against the Philistines. And he depicts how the Assyrians under Sennacherib utilized the cutting edge of eighth-century BC technology to rout the soldiers of Judah at Lachish—only to succumb to plague as they besieged Jerusalem.
Rashba moves forward to show how, under the leadership of the Maccabees, the Judeans struggled valiantly against the mighty, advanced Seleucid empire, eventually taking Jerusalem and reclaiming the Temple—only to lose it in 70 AD under the domination of Rome and the puppet king Herod. The pitched battles between the besieged Jewish Zealots, led by Joseph ben Mattathias, and the Roman legions, under Vespasian’s command, make thrilling reading.
The chronicle progresses to the medieval era as the forces of Islam rout Byzantine defenders in the seventh century to take the Holy Land and, ultimately, the entire Middle East. Christian Crusaders from Europe, Mongols commanded by Genghis Khan’s grandson Hulegu, even Napoleon himself were stymied and humiliated by the Muslim defenders. The influence of 20th-century European geopolitics set the stage for today’s intractable conflict.
In lieu of intricately detailed micro-analyses of battle plans and troop movements, Rashba—a storyteller at heart—carefully sets the stage for each conflict, then focuses on the decisive climax. Thus, the reader can examine an extraordinary breadth of military history, gaining a panoramic view of the evolution of warfare from Bronze Age antiquity to the high-tech present day. One intriguing chapter after another drives home the message that today’s Arab-Israeli conflict is merely the latest iteration of an unending history of violence in the Holy Land.
Hardcover Book : 312 pages
Publisher: Casemate Publisher & Book Dist. ( August 01, 2011 )
Item #: 13-462700
Product Dimensions: 6.0 x 9.0 inches
Product Weight: 20.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)