Here's a good book for newcomers to the subject. Its chief shortcoming for others is that it's too short. That is justified, in part, by the fact that his long, two-volume documentary history is on the way, drawing on interviews with many of those involved with the scrolls as well as archival records. In the meantime, this brief intro is in some particulars, such as who had which Cave One scrolls when, more detailed than some other recountings of the discoveries. The glossy pages include some good photos. After the discoveries story, Fields surveys the texts and their significance, mostly in clear, straightforward prose. One can quibble here and there. He underestimates the legitimate frustration of second temple period historians before the scrolls all became available; before then, some editors would respond to inquiries and some would not. Who were the two Hebrew U. librarians (p. 19) who failed to recognize the antiquity and importance of the scrolls? Do we know there were 9th and 10th century discoveries in the area (p. 35, perhaps alluding to Timotheus and al-Qirqisani, mentioned in the Timeline on page 108) or possibly two writers aware of the same set of uncoverings? Page 90: "...we know nothing precisely of the original leader of the Dead Sea Sect." To be brief, that's false. He was Judah the Essene. (For evidence, see "Jannaeus, His Brother Absalom, and Judah the Essene," available online.) The scrolls are ineluctably--dispite efforts (not by Fields) to deny--associated with the Essenes. Of course, not all the scrolls were composed by Essenes, but several certainly were. Some even include the Hebrew origin of "Essenes," where they call themselves 'osey hatorah, the true observers of torah--a claim plainly disputed by members of other streams of Judaism, and, likely, by Paul. Though there is no evidence of Christianity at Qumran, the book may well underestimate the influence of Essene teaching and practice on some varieties of early Christianity. "Yahad" is probably better translated as "community" than "group." Typos: pesherim (p.83) should read pesharim; Fitzmeyer (p. 128), Fitzmyer. The back cover blurb (perhaps not written by Fields) includes slightly misleading questions: "...Who has them [scrolls] now? Are some hidden away? Were there conspiracies to suppress some scrolls?..." I'm not suggesting any scrolls were suppressed, but that controversy is not addressed at any length. Similarly, the scroll fragments now in private hands are dealt with only slightly. But the main thing I have to say is: please hurry up and give us the Long History.