From the Maccabees to the Mishna by Shaye Cohen
Shaye J. D. Cohen is a Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. He is a well-known historian who also holds rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
This book (link here) is one of my favorites. If you are a student of history and background of the Second Temple era professor Cohen has much to offer you. You may not always agree with his conclusions, but the research he does is outstanding.