When the Jews revolted against Rome in 66 CE, Josephus, a Jerusalem aristocrat, was made a general in his nation’s army. Captured by the Romans, he saved his skin by finding favor with the emperor Vespasian. He then served as an adviser to the Roman legions, running a network of spies inside Jerusalem, in the belief that the Jews’ only hope of survival lay in surrender to Rome.
During the 15th century England was split in a bloody conflict between the Houses of York and Lancaster over who should claim the crown. The civil wars consumed the whole nation in a series of battles that eventually saw the Tudor dynasty take power. In A Brief History of the Wars of the Roses, Desmond Seward tells the story of this complex and dangerous period of history through the lives of five men and women who experienced the conflict firsthand.