Masada Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Masada

It is described as a “novel of love, courage, and the triumph of the human spirit,” and it is
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that. And much more. In “Masada,” Ernest K. Gann, no stranger to large literary
undertakings, gives the story of the valiant band of Zealots who chose to defy the powerful
occupying Roman machine, and in so doing, of course, surrender their own lives. Three
principal characters--Eleazar, Silva, and Sheva--shape the direction of this novel. Gann
bases this story on actual events (derived from the writings of Josephus) and it is a story
that, despite its tragic themes, is one of the valiant struggling against the wicked. Rome
simply could not permit the defiance that these Jewish Zealots were displaying and so
sought to eliminate them. Not so fast, of course, as Eleazar leads his followers to Masada,
the giant “rock” overlooking the Dead Sea and a place that seems impregnable. They have
food and water that should withstand any type of seige. The Romans, however, under
General Silva, are patient and set about constructing a ramp up the hill. They then use a
battering ram to render the Zealots (men, women, and children) defenseless. Alas, of
course, when the Romans enter the fortress, all are dead--they've committed mass suicide.
Gann is at his best here, too (among his other works: “The High and the Mighty” and
“Fate Is the Hunter”). This is a book that is historically invigorating as well as literarily

The review of this Book prepared by Bill Hobbs

Chapter Analysis of Masada

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   1600-1899 Political/social activism    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   general liberal/left wing activism    -   racism!!!!    -   religious issues Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   champion of justice Age:    -   20's-30's


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   9 () Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Israel

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Masada

Ernest K. Gann Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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