Review of Conquering Jerusalem

My review of Stephen Dando-Collins newest book, Conquering Jerusalem: The AD 66-73 Roman Campaign to Crush the Jewish Revolt, is now on the internet. You can read it at

As I noted in my review, my reaction to the book was primarily one of horror. The casual killing of the conquered by the thousands shocked and surprised me. I hadn’t realized that such barbarity was commonplace in the first century AD.

Bear in mind that the man who was so shocked—me—is a veteran of many years of combat on the battlefield. Between 1962 and 1975, I spent more time in Vietnam than I did in the U.S. My job was providing signals intelligence support to troops fighting the war. I witnessed countless combat deaths, many of them so grisly that little was left to put in a body bag.

But neither we nor our enemies killed for the sake of killing. That, as I understand it, was what both the Romans and the Jews did during the Jewish revolt. My understanding made me realize how far the members of humanity have advanced in two millennia. The sacredness of human life and the common commitment to preserve it at all costs is, to my surprise, a modern concept broadly accepted at least in the western democracies.

I have learned anew that humanity has indeed grown in wisdom over the centuries. For all our flaws and errors, we are better today than we were two thousand years ago.

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