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VINE VOICEon 2 May 2008
Having gone through the state education system, I came out of school completely uneducated about things like history and classic literature and I've been trying to rectify this omission for many years. This has resulted in me reading a lot of the classics line, and something I've realised is what hard work many of them are. As times change, so do writing styles and ideas of what makes a narrative work, and to the modern reader many books written hundreds of years past can be a challenging read.
This is why Josephus is such a pleasure. For all that we are separated from him by almost two thousand years, his humanity shines through. His history of the Jewish war against the Romans in the late 1st century AD is very much a history of his own activities therein, and what an unashamedly self-serving document it is. Originally a regional commander in the rebellious jewish army, Josephus wrote his history after his capture by the Romans and defection to their side (he became a Roman citizen and a courtier to more than one emperor). By turns witty, outrageously immodest and deceitful, Josephus wrote a hagiography of himself and his roman patrons and a tremendously enjoyable read it is too. By humanising his narrative, he also succeeds in making it accessible.

We have so few records of the ancient world it is impossible to be absolutely certain how accurate any given historical document is. However, as well as being enjoyable, the archaelogical and historical record suggests that when Josephus talks about the facts of the war (who won and fought who, where and when) he can be trusted in the broad sweep if not in the details.
It's a fascinating and human insight into the ancient world which shows that people, wherever and whenever they lived, are just as human - and as worried about their reputations - as are we.
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on 15 March 2010
In keeping with Penguin classics generally, this is an excellent translation of Josephus 'The Jewish War' - and easily readable. This alone is a major advantage over the older translation still in print; hopefully a Penguin version of his other main work 'The antiquities of the Jews' will follow. A downside is that it does not use the Loeb referencing system, which makes cross referencing of commentaries a little difficult - but this does not detract from the translation. Scholars could usefully buy both translations - one using the Loeb system (for ease of reference)The Jewish War (Classics), and the Penguin version (much more understandable translation)
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on 1 May 2004
As a translation of classical literature, the Penguin edition serves as a useful companion to any student of Josephus, or of the period of Roman control over Israel in the first pre-Christian and post-Christian centuries. It is the cheaper alternative to the expensive Loeb translation.
However, since most scholarship tends to use the Loeb referencing system, it would be useful if the Penguin edition has better cross-refencing with this system. This would make it far easier for the student to find the approriate passage in the Penguin, given a Loeb citation.
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on 20 April 2013
It's a most interesting book and I'd recommend it to everyone. The extra information and appendixes at the back add extra interesting information, complementing the narrative as written 2000 years ago.

Although Josephus is most articulate he has a habit of bombarding the reader with information sometimes. It goes so fast that it's hard to follow fully sometimes, also because there are so many names it's hard to keep up. Nevertheless an enjoyable read.
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on 30 November 2013
this was a present for my husband he loved it would recommend and Order from them again
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on 28 March 2015
Good translation of a classic work by Flavius Josephus.
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on 15 August 2014
Good information
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on 19 March 2015
Unputdownable!
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on 2 December 2015
Very satisfactory. Prompt delivery, product as described, very good service.
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on 12 April 2016
Superb History, also indicates not much has changed in all that time
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