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The Source [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

James A. Michener
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition --  
Library Binding CDN $28.02  
Paperback CDN $15.16  
Mass Market Paperback CDN $10.79  
Audio, CD --  
Audio, Cassette, Audiobook, Nov. 21 1990 --  

Book Description

Nov. 21 1990
Michener presents a magnificent and spellbinding expedition through the history of the Holy Land--the source of Western religious heritage. 2 cassettes.

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Review

“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


From the Trade 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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Source" of my Middle East fascination June 20 2004
By L. Feld
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When I was in my early teens, back in the days of disco, fat ties, oil crises, and gaudy leisure suits (aka, the 1970s), I remember looking through my parents' book collection for the book with the most pages. At the time, I thought that the length of a book somehow corresponded to its difficulty level, and that if I could read a 1,000+ page book, then I must be REALLY smart and also grown up! Anyway, one of the first books I decided to read, based on these sophisticated criteria, was "The Source," by James Michener. Surprisingly, I found out that the book was actually easy to read, fascinating, and highly entertaining, and I whizzed right through it (boy, did I think I was smart afte that)! I remember being completely engrossed as the centuries flew past, as conquering armies marched, as cities rose and fell, as blood flowed through the streets of Jerusalem, and as the Jews wandered through the Middle East and Europe. I also remember thinking that the Middle East had an incredible history that I needed to learn a lot more about.
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, but not without its shortcomings Aug. 8 2003
By Greg
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If we take the Source as a history of the Jews, which I think is what the author intended (as opposed to the history of "Makor" in the Holy Land), then I have to say that this is an excellent book. Michener writes with passion about the sufferings and resilience of the Jewish people, and his narrative explaining the origins and development of rabbinical Judaism is enlightening. The rich diversity and beauty of Ashkenazi and Sephardi culture come to life in Michener's book. One cannot help but feel a sense of empathy for the Jewish people as they struggle through exile, inquisition, pogroms, and exploitative officials.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding historical fiction Feb. 20 2004
Format:Hardcover
The Source is essentially the story of Jewish history from about 10,000 BCE.
Michener is well known for making "place" the focal point of his stories, and in this book the "place" is an archeological dig in the Middle East near the Sea of Galilee. The earliest section of the book introduces the dig and the principle characters (the archaeologists) who begin excavating the tell (the mound that is the dig site) and unearthing artifacts. Each chapter then recounts the story behind each artifact they find and how it got there. The order is chronological, beginning about 12,000 years ago and ending in the mid-twentieth century.
It is essentially a very entertaining history lesson disguised as a historical novel. It is easily digestible, or "history light", but a great introduction for those not wanting to read what some refer to as the "dry history" of traditional history texts.
The archaeologists make brief appearances throughout the various stories and do a lot of philosophizing about the relations between the Jews, Christians, and Moslems and the various moral dilemmas each group has faced at various times throughout history. I found it interesting, though some may find it a bit forced.
Overall, if you do like historical fiction, this is one of the best!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and Emotional June 2 2003
By TLS
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Source is a sweep back through time to the Jewish people of the Middle East. The story takes us back to the days when the gods were little statues, monoliths on a mountain, and child-eating fires. It moves forward through time to the mid-sixties. The author uses the tool of mini-stories, one per chapter, to show the evolution of one era to the next.
Individually, the chapters (stories) are well-written and emotionally compelling. Some will break your heart. Some will make you cheer. Overall, the book does an excellent job of showing how the Jewish people feel about themselves, their homeland, each other, and their religion. They are not over-simplified but shown in the full complexity of their feelings and experience. This is what the book does really well.
The only complaint that I have is that some parts of the book are historically questionable. Many will feel that the story shows a bias against certain religious/ethnic factions. The author also occasionally gets a little lax about using modern verbage in inappropriate settings. For example, I can't imagine someone in the pre-Christian era using the word 'cronies'.
Overall, though, the book is good and worth reading for a picture of the Jewish feelings that may have been manifest in different periods. It is also excellent as pure fiction. I enjoyed it a lot.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very good book to review the history of the Jews
Published 2 months ago by jose
5.0 out of 5 stars what a story
Very well researched, surprisingly addictive given the main subject...even for an athiest. An excellent historical novel in the compelling Michener tradition.
Published 2 months ago by Daniel bernardi
5.0 out of 5 stars Living History!
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 more
Published 5 months ago by Eleanor Cowan
4.0 out of 5 stars The Source
Very interesting book. I read this book after my trip to Israel as I was wanting more history on this place.
Published 10 months ago by Socorro Antolin
5.0 out of 5 stars It is a Michener Novel - Should be excellent
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 21 months ago by Jim Francis
4.0 out of 5 stars Journey Through History
This book is a historical fiction that describes the generations of a fictional town of Makor in Galilee. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Murray
1.0 out of 5 stars I Throw Very Few Books in the Garbage
I am a fan of Edward Rutherford. Having read all of his novels I was looking for another good historical novelist. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2006 by Victoria
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost a religious experience....
I cannot vouch for the absolute historical authenticity of this magnificent book. Even biblical scholars can't do that. Read more
Published on April 19 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars The Source of all Evil
James Michner's the Source is without a doubt one of the worst books I have ever been forced to read in my entire lifetime. Read more
Published on April 3 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Nobody Does it Better Than Michener!
This is probably the best epic account of the history of the Jewish people in Israel. The story focuses on an archeological dig at a Tel in Israel. Read more
Published on March 22 2004 by Michael A. Newman
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