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Ancient Israel at War 853-586 BC (Essential Histories) Paperback – 7 Feb 2007

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (7 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846030366
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846030369
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 0.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,197,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

".".. "is a fine pick for both in-depth college-level Middle East history holdings and specialty military collections with strong sections in early military force... It promises vivid reading for any studying early wars and military conditions." -"The Bookwatch Midwest Book Review"

About the Author

Dr Brad Kelle is Associate Professor of Biblical Literature at Point Loma Nazarene University. He previously was Assistant Professor of the Old Testament at Colorado Christian University. He specializes in Israelite and Judean history and the Old Testament prophetic literature. Over the last three years he has chaired the Society of Biblical Literature's consultation on 'Warfare in Ancient Israel'. He has also written and had published many articles and books on Ancient Israel and the Hebrew Bible. He lives in San Diego. Professor Robert O'Neill, AO D.Phil. (Oxon), Hon D. Litt. (ANU), FASSA, FR Hist S, is the Series Editor of the Essential Histories. He has held a number of eminent positions in history circles, including the Chichele Professorship of the History of War at All Souls College, University of Oxford, and the Chairmanship of the Board of the Imperial War Museum and the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I must admit that my knowledge of this period and area of history was a little blank before I got hold of this book. My own area of interest is Classical Civilisation, and I knew very little of the ancient history of the Holy Land during the Assyrian/Babylonian periods.
This book made an interesting and short introduction to the topic, and would no doubt act as a stepping stone to other more in-depth research.

The book analyses the period from Isreal's first encounter with the Assyrians in 853 BC to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BC. The book begins by describing the emergence of Israel and Judah and their various feuds, including their wars with Aram-Damascus.
It then covers topics such as the armies of Isreal, Judah, Aram, and the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and explains their motives for war.
The next section covers the outbreak of war, explaining how Assyria and Israel came to blows. With the scene set, the author then covers the fighting and the various campaigns, from the battles between Israel and Aaram-Damascus (843-805) to the Syro-Ephriamitic War (734-731) right through to the Fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadrezzar's army in 586 BC.

The next few sections covers the war from cultural and individual perspectives. It opens with the portrait of the soldier, Pekah, a rebel, officer and king. The next section covers the world around war, looking at topics such as society and economy, religion, and prophets. Finally, we get to understand the war from a civilian perspective, which gives us examples of the war as viewed by Naboth the vineyard owner, Huldah the prophetess, and Baruch the scribe.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being Christian I have always told myself I should have a book which places events of The Old Testament in an Historical context; also being a great admirer of the Osprey Essential History series for its knack of present a compact overview it seemed time to put the two together.
Pleased to say this was a wise investment.

Firstly it is only fair to point out that D Evans’ 2008 review of this volume is as comprehensive and informative as you could wish, so mine is just something of a confirmation; feel free to skip to that one.

The historical details cross referencing biblical with other sources is well constructed without losing the reader in the academic. Maps are placed at convenient interludes in the book to assist with perspective. There are a number of photographs of carvings and of contemporary archaeological locations. The chronology is laid out in an easy to read fashion. There are also those trademark Essential History additions of insights on the ordinary person swept up in the events. One aspect which drew my attention was that although the account goes from Page 7 to 88, the font is small enough to be worthy of a 150-200 page volume. This is certainly a book you can return to time and time again for reference.

As a ‘retired wargamer’ I would advise those current enthusiasts that in common with most of the Essential History series there are no plates of soldiery in this volume; however this is recommended for the above mentioned qualities to supply you with back ground information.

Recommended.
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How can a book on Ancient Israel not have a SINGLE depiction of an Israeli soldier and/or warrior in the whole book?? The photographic material is very poor overall with pictures that don't really tell a story. Add to this a rather trite text and you have the perfect receipe for a wasted opportunity... It's a pity.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8e9a9888) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e7471bc) out of 5 stars Surviving amongst Giants 26 Mar. 2013
By Anibal Madeira - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is an introduction to warfare in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah from 853 to 586 BC. It covers the difficult political survival, being small powers among the mighty Assyrian, Egyptian and later the Babylonian empire. Strategically they merged in coalitions to face mightier foes or they sided with one of the superpowers. With cycles of rebellions and obedience, both Israel (with capital in Samaria) and Judah (with capital in Jerusalem) faced immense challenges that ended with defeat and exile.

But Dr. Kelle doesn't simply makes a nice introduction to the subject, he gives good political analyses, a small description of the armies of the period and dissertates about the numbers provided by the sources, provides good maps (both campaign and political), nice pictures, short biographies of a military leader (Pecah) and civilians (a vineyard owner, a prophetess and a scribe). The reader will also get information on the exile (and those who stayed behind) and the influence of constant warfare in society, economy and religion.

There are a few weaknesses like the lack of battle information (quite essential in an essential guide to Israel at war), maybe a battle map (the author provides campaign maps, but not even one battle map), small mistakes (in page 23 the author claims that Assyrians wore coats of mail, for example...when they used lamellar or scale).

It also have a nice chronology, fabulous further reading guide and a good introduction to the study of ancient and biblical sources.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f9ddcc0) out of 5 stars Review of EH: 'Israel at War' 4 July 2010
By Ryan Mease - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
EH does an excellent job presenting very basic history with vivid pictures and maps as aids. Israel at War is another example of their fine work--it contains contextual history of the Near Eastern empires to help the reader better understand biblical history. There are also several biographical portraits in the book (a warrior, a scribe, etc.), which I found to be a great way of presenting information about specific culture.

Indeed, this is a very basic book--it merely covers the Essentials. It doesn't claim to consider anything else.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e9e1138) out of 5 stars Vivid reading 10 May 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Brad E. Kelle's ANCIENT ISRAEL AT WAR: 853-586BC is a fine pick for both in-depth college-level Middle East history holdings and specialty military collections with strong sections in early military force. It covers the complex kingdom of Ancient Israel and 200 years of constant warring between kingdoms and neighbors, and considers both the social and political relationships involved and the military conflicts. While a specialty item, it promises vivid reading for any studying early wars and military conditions.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e787774) out of 5 stars Excellent History to Supplement the Bible 11 Feb. 2013
By Mike Dillemuth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well written book that adds military context to the bible's Old Testament. The author, Brad Kelle, has a writing style that is clear and concise. Of note is that he uses a variety of sources. In addition to the bible, he uses archeological evidence from the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Empires.

For example, the bible describes how the Babylonians exiled the Israelites from the holy land. The author, however, points out that they actually left a substantial number of people behind. A fact that is not readily obvious to the casual reader of the bible.

The book also describes the political conflicts that emerged. During this period, the Jews lived in two separate kingdoms; Judah and Israel. For much of the time, these kingdoms were in conflict with the different empires of the east, if not with each other. The book also notes the rise of royalty from the Davidic family and the creation of political alliances. These developments had a dramatic affect on the family based subsistence economy. These royal administrations dictated the distribution of resources. The profits from trade subsequently went to local rulers. The government also gave land grants to military functionaries, eventually creating wealthy estates. Due to these policies, farmers eventually became too poor to sustain themselves or maintain their family farms.

The book has a large number of archeological photos. It also has eight 2D maps which are clear and uncluttered. They are invaluable in understanding the various campaigns, some of which occurred over the span of several years.

Bottom line: this book is well organized and easy to read. It covers multiple campaigns over an approximate 300 year period. The only negative part is that some campaigns are lacking in clarity. The author gives great insight on other aspects of the various conflicts, such as politics, religion, and commerce. All in all, this book is a good military synopsis of this period of Middle Eastern history.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e772114) out of 5 stars ANCIENT ISRAEL AT WAR 853-586 BC 16 Nov. 2010
By Robert A. Lynn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
ANCIENT ISRAEL AT WAR 853-586 BC
BRAD KELLE
OSPREY PUBLISHING, 2007
QUALITY SOFTCOVER, $14.95, 96 PAGES, ILLUSTRATIONS, MAPS

War was so common in the Biblical period that the Old Testament makes specific reference to times of peace. As in modern times, the wars of antiquity were fought for political, economic, and religious reasons, and Palestine's position near the land bridge between Africa and Asia greatly multiplied the number of wars in which the inhabitants were involved. The weapons, strategies, and tactics used for war in the ancient Near East and the Greco-Roman world were highly diversified, and the methodology of war varied from people to people and from period to period. Nevertheless, some aspects of warfare were universal. For example, battles were fought on land and/or sea, with land encounters being subdivided into two basic categories: battles in open terrain and attacks on fortified cities. While only a few ancient peoples developed significant naval forces-Phoenicians, Greeks, Persians, and Romans; most ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman armies included two major divisions, foot soldiers and horsemen, and many armies made effective use of the chariots-the Egyptians and Assyrians. Infantrymen were divided into various contingents that specialized in the use of particular weapons-bows and arrows, slings, and sling stones. Although some field campaigns were provisioned 'off the land', the great imperial armies counted auxiliary troops within their ranks whose responsibility it was to provision the troops-the sophisticated logistical system that contributed to the success of Alexander the Great. Like their modern counterparts, ancient armies poured much human energy and technical skill into the preparation for and waging war. The number of soldiers involved in a single battle varied from a handful to many thousands, and the death and devastation caused by war was often enormous. Finally, students of ancient warfare can't help but be impressed by the technical skills that were employed in the production of weaponry. A careful examination of the archaeological evidence and artistic representations that relate to military activity allows one to understand that even ancient warfare was an art and a science that involved great learning. Since the Hebrew conquest and settlement of Canaan was partly accomplished by means of armed conflict with a number of people, Israel's early history (1225-1025 BC) is, to some degree, a history of the wars of Israel. Following these early phases of Israel's history, the Hebrew monarchy (1025-586 BC) was establsihed and maintained by means of war. Complex and unstable, in 922 BC, the Kingdom of Ancient Israel was divided into Judah, in the south, and Israel, in the north. For the next 200 years, there was almost constant warring between these kingdoms and their neighbors. These bitter feuds eventually led to the collapse of Israel, leaving Judah as a surviving nation until the emergence of the Babylonian Empire, the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC, and the exile of the Judean people. Using ancient Jewish, Biblical, and other contemporary sources, ANCIENT ISRAEL AT WAR 853-586 BC examines the politics, fighting, and consequences of Israel's battles during this period. Focusing on the turbulent relationship between the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, this book explains Israel's complex, often bloody, foreign policy, and provides a definitive history of these ancient conflicts.

Lt. Colonel Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard
Orlando, Florida
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