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Later, in cosmopolitan Alexandria, he undergoes a scholarly and sexual awakening—but must also escape a pogrom.

‘Ben Hur,’ but Bigger and Better

Returning to Rome at last, he finds an entirely unexpected inheritance. Equal parts Homeric epic, brilliantly researched Jewish history, and picaresque adventure, Captivity is a dramatic tale of family, fate, and fortitude. The level of detail is stunning; Mr. Uri, whose maturation gives the story its psychological heft, exemplifies the enigmas and tensions of Diaspora Jewry across history. Readers will find particularly strong resonance in the scenes of the Alexandria riots of A.

Captivity — Restless Books

You can read it as a parable of the Jewish condition amid the modern empires of Europe, or you can simply lose yourself in the ancient setting it so comprehensively describes. It appears that in our times, it is playfulness that is expected of literary works, rather than the portrayal of realistic questions and conflicts.

As if the two, playfulness and seriousness were inconsistent with each other! On the contrary at least for me playfulness begins with seriousness. Literature is a serious game. In fact, both Jesus and Claudius, the main characters of those books, make cameo appearances in Captivity , as do other boldface names of the 1st century CE, including Caligula, Pontius Pilate, and Philo of Alexandria.


These archetypal scenes of Roman life shock us into realizing the ways in which the ancient world differed from our own—the extreme brutality, the fixed and undisguised hierarchy, the omnipresent corruption…. He demonstrates a mastery of everything from the silk trade to the workings of ancient economies…. The strength of the book is in its unheroic, unillusioned depiction of ancient life…. Here is a faithful, fantastically informed, and extravagantly detailed picture of one of the most turbulent and consequential moments in human history.

A thoroughly impressive literary feat. Here mountains of trivia form vivid landscapes and academic minutiae open windows into the soul of a forgotten age. It is a work of fiction, though, and it is hilarious His technique is a welcome innovation for historical fiction in general, and perhaps the drollest scholarly introduction to the first century yet.

Captive -- Book Trailer [h.s]

The most sensational aspect of the Olive Oatman story is the appearance of the chin tattoos that she was marked with. Later on the lecture circuit, she wore a veil to hide the marks, and claimed they were to identify her as a slave. The truth was that most Mojave women were thus marked, it being a rite of passage from puberty to adulthood. Equally fascinating is that after being ransomed, Olive disavowed her affection toward her Mojave family, presumably to fit in better back home.

After marrying a wealthy cattleman who burned all the copies of the Stratton book he could find, she rarely discussed this part of her life, but always kept a jar of hazelnuts in the kitchen, a staple food of the Mojave. James E. Mary Jemison. This is perhaps the most radical captivity tale in that Mary Jemison, captured in her teens by the Seneca in , assimilated into the tribe and went on to live with them for over 60 years. Her story is a critique of white culture and a defense of Native Americans. Jemison sets up her choice of remaining in the tribe as one of embracing an alternate and superior culture in which she experienced more freedom and power than she could have in white society.

This is a reverse-captivity narrative.

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It is the story of Indigo, a young girl who flees the turmoil of Arizona with her grandmother at the turn of the century in the aftermath of an aqueduct being constructed to feed water from the Colorado River to Los Angeles. Soldiers capture Indigo, and she is sent to a school in Riverside. Although fiction, this story describes the brutal acculturation process many Native American children were forced to undergo.

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