SOURCE Mass Market Paperback – Apr 12 1976
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“Fascinating . . . stunning . . . [a] wonderful rampage through history . . . Biblical history, as seen through the eyes of a professor who is puzzled, appalled, delighted, enriched and impoverished by the spectacle of a land where all men are archeologists.”—The New York Times
“A sweeping [novel] filled with excitement—pagan ritual, the clash of armies, ancient and modern: the evolving drama of man’s faith.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Magnificent . . . a superlative piece of writing both in scope and technique . . . one of the great books of this generation.”—San Francisco Call Bulletin --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
“Fascinating . . . a wonderful rampage through history.”—The New York Times
“James Michener is something rare and valuable: an honorable craftsman doing honorable work. . . . He manages
to make history vivid.”—The Boston Globe
“Magnificent . . . a superlative piece of writing both in scope and technique. It is, in fact, one of the great books of this generation. . . . It will hold the interest of any reader, no matter what religion he may be.”—San Francisco Call Bulletin --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, almost 30 years later, with a Masters Degree in Middle East Studies, with a couple of trips to the region under my belt, and with a job dealing with the Middle East, I can blame it all, at least in part, on reading "The Source" at age 12 or 13. Seriously, though, I do believe that the seed of my life-long fascination with history, international relations, politics, and the Middle East was planted when I read "The Source" as a young teenager. Actually, come to think of it, another Michener book -- Centennial -- got me fascinated in the history of the West and the American Indian, while several others made me want to learn more about South Africa, Hawaii, the South Pacific, the Chesapeake region, and even outer space. So, definitely read James Michener, but be warned: you could become addicted to a lifetime of learning, travel, and adventure.
Michener also does a good job of desribing the various inhabitants of Galilee through the ages, and through the clan of Ur, one gets a sense of how the Palestinian people came to be -- Canaanites and Philistines who were first Hellenized, then Romanized, and finally Arabized.
This book does so many things well that it is easy to overlook some serious flaws. Michener almost romanticizes Jewish history and suffering, and while his chapter "Rebbe Itzik and the Sabra" offers a compelling contrast between secular and religious Jews, it gives a woefully lopsided view of the Arab-Israeli War of 1948. The book seems to argue that the Jews "deserve" the land more because of their suffering and because "they can manage it better." It fails to establish the connection of the Arabs with the land -- as though the Palestinian Arabs "deserve" to be exiled -- even though the character Jemail Tabari supposedly is a descendant of people who lived there 12,000 years ago. Indeed, an examination of the chapter "Twilight of an Empire" reveals unforgivably stereotyped Arabs -- flat, colorless, without culture, dirty, corrupt, and often cruel.Read more ›
The author uses his perspective on the evolution of religion that was popular around the publishing date. Namely that religion evolved out of the need of prehistoric humans to reconcile personals needs to environmental challenges.
The purpose of this review is not to quibble over fact or fiction but the author seems to de-construct some history in favour of his evolution of religion agenda. For example the gradual migration of the Jews into Galilee and the gradual assimilation of the population into the new religion of Israel is portrayed as de facto history in this work of fiction. As such the master of inter-generational historical fiction seems not to use history as a touch point for his fiction but used the fiction to de-construct the history.
In the latter pages the place of modern Israel is debated amongst the characters. At the time of publishing modern Israel was still defining itself in the world and Michener covers all the issues, even the controversial ones in an engaging fashion. I found this book hard to read at times due the sometimes ugly depiction of various negative moments of history. But I did find myself engaged by the heroes of modern day Israel just because they were underdogs in that drama of independence of Israel.
Most recent customer reviews
This is an amazing understanding of the Arab, Israeli, and Christian origins and conflicts. It is so very fitting to read this book written over 40 years ago, but if you didn't... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Lonnie lamb
Supposedly a history of Israel, but in reality it is a history of cave men slowly evolving over tens of
thousands of years. If I wanted a book on evolution I would buy one. Read more
Very well researched, surprisingly addictive given the main subject...even for an athiest. An excellent historical novel in the compelling Michener tradition.Published 18 months ago by Daniel bernardi
What a magnificent history book this was for me, one that forever linked me to lovable characters who walked me from one generation to the next. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Eleanor Cowan
Very interesting book. I read this book after my trip to Israel as I was wanting more history on this place.Published on Jan. 2 2014 by Bubble
As an avid Michener fan, I continue to purchase from the extensive list on Amazon. I haven't read the book as yet, next in line but....he has failed to disappoint over the years.Published on Jan. 20 2013 by Jim Francis
I am a fan of Edward Rutherford. Having read all of his novels I was looking for another good historical novelist. Read morePublished on Jan. 21 2006 by Victoria
I cannot vouch for the absolute historical authenticity of this magnificent book. Even biblical scholars can't do that. Read morePublished on April 19 2004