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The Source [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

James A. Michener
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)

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Library Binding CDN $26.80  
Paperback CDN $15.16  
Mass Market Paperback CDN $10.79  
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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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“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
9 of 9 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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost a religious experience.... April 19 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I cannot vouch for the absolute historical authenticity of this magnificent book. Even biblical scholars can't do that. I have read many religious texts that were supposed to inspire me, save my soul, help me approach God. They didn't quite measure up. Michener did not intend to write a spiritual text, but his convincing romp through the "evolution of religion" came close to turning my agnostic beliefs into those of a near-believer. Much more than the "Holy" Bible ever did. Fascinating, layered characterizations, riveting plots, and truly educational exploration of the meaning of mankind's place in the cosmos give The Source a top-ten ranking among my favorite books of all time. I was thrilled to see so many glowing reviews of this book, and so few negatives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Living History! June 2 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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.

I learned so much about the history of the world.

Eleanor Cowan, author of: A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Source Jan. 2 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very interesting book. I read this book after my trip to Israel as I was wanting more history on this place.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Journey Through History Nov. 20 2012
By Murray
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is a historical fiction that describes the generations of a fictional town of Makor in Galilee. The author journeys through the various epochs of history in a interesting and sometimes political fashion, and in doing this he opinionates about the various religions that have settled in the area.

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.
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Most recent customer reviews
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 18 months ago by Jim Francis
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 Lechler
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
4.0 out of 5 stars The majority of the book was interesting.
This book is over 900 pages, probably the largest book I have ever read. The storyline is interesting, and in reality is about a dozen stories taking place at one location over a... Read more
Published on Feb. 28 2004 by Ignatious Valve
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding historical fiction
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... Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2004 by Bryan Case
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Book On The History of The Jews
This was one of the first books I ever read by James Michener, and what an introduction! Don't be daunted by the size of the novel, for this book is a real page turner! Read more
Published on Dec 19 2003 by kone
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
Has hastily been added to my list of "most influential books ever read." Altough this is indeed a very, very long read, and slows down a bit towards the last third, it is well... Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2003 by H.R.A.
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