Mr. Allegro's study of the ancient history of the Jews extends from the 6th century B.C. (the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonian army) to the Zealot revolt of 132 A.D. and the dispersion of the Jews. His purpose is not to present a simple narrative, but to trace the historical development of the character of the Jews of the period with its emphasis on ruthless self-assertion--a development which culminated, during the reign of Hadrian, in the tragedy of the Diaspora. The author's point, skillfully wrought, is that the Jews of Antiquity were, indeed, what they believed themselves to be--the victims of the Gentiles; but they were first of all victims of their own illusions and particularly of their religious fanaticism. That fanaticism, in its most fatal and virulent form, was embodied in the Zealot movement--a hitherto little known and less understood phenomenon of history which the author takes pains to explain. A sound and eminently readable exercise in interpretative history; a ""revisionist"" work in an area where revision is sorely needed.