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The Source by James A. Michener

The Source (1965)

by James A. Michener

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The beginning was interesting, but the "historical" part was not nearly as exciting as it should have been. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
Artifacts found at an archaeological site in Israel provide the foundations for a series of fictional snapshots into the region's history. The time-span covered is ambitious in the usual Michener fashion, from Neolithic times up into the 1960s. The focus is mostly on the Jewish peoples, but some time is given to early pre-Judaic religions, pagan Romans, Christianity, the Crusaders, and Islam.

Michener is a master at making the grand sweep of human history accessible, but sometimes in order to do this he simplifies things somewhat. It seems especially noticeable in this book. Some of the characters lack depth. The female characters are particularly one-note. But then again, he has to cover a lot of territory, so...

The human drama seemed somewhat repetitive from section to section, but the historical details were quite fun. I especially liked the story of building the underground tunnel to secure the town's water source. It was obviously based on Hezekiah's tunnel in Jerusalem, an amazing engineering feat given the primitive technology at the time. Other portions borrow from Josephus's writings to provide further authenticity. The history stuff is good. The actual fiction is just okay. ( )
1 vote saturnloft | Aug 25, 2013 |
  cavlibrary | Apr 19, 2013 |
Good job by the author in trying to collect rabbinic thought and philosophy and tie and contrast that to other religions and gods. Lots of new understanding for me. The first half of the book is very, very slow, and the book is long. ( )
  herbcat | Oct 23, 2012 |
Follows an archeological dig in the Holy Land with short, interconnected stories for each level/time period discovered tracing the history of Judaism and the introduction of Christianity and Islam into the area. I suppose I will never understand religion for this work only served to intensify all its negative attributes without balancing it with anything positive (which I'm inclined to believe means there is little to no positive influence to be had). I think I may give Michener another try, but on a different topic. ( )
  dandelionroots | Aug 13, 2012 |
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On Tuesday the freighter steamed through the Straits of Gibraltar and for five days plowed eastward through the Mediterranean, past islands and peninsulas rich in history, so that on Saturday night the steward advised Dr. Cullinane, "If you wish an early sight of the Holy Land you must be up at dawn."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375760385, Paperback)

In his signature style of grand storytelling, James Michener sweeps us back through time to the Holy Land, thousands of years ago. By exploring the lives and discoveries of modern archaeologists excavating the site of Tell Makor, Michener vividly re-creates life in and around an ancient city during critical periods of its existence, and traces the profound history of the Jews, including that of the early Hebrews and their persecution, the impact of Christianity on the Jewish world, the Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition. Michener weaves his epic tale of love, strength, and faith until at last he arrives at the founding of Israel and the modern conflict in the Middle East. The Source is not only a compelling history of the Holy Land and its people but a richly written saga that encompasses the development of Western civilization and the great religious and cultural ideas that have shaped our world.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:36 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Exploring the lives and discoveries of modern archaeologists excavating the site of Tell Makor, Michener re-creates life in & around an ancient city during critical periods of its existence & traces the history of the Jews including the life of the early Hebrews, their persecution & the Spanish Inquisition.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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