I love this book. I read it first as a teenager, and have re-read it several times since. It is Michener at his best, a huge saga beginning in prehistoric times and encompassing thousands of years, compelling and fascinating and incredibly absorbing. The book is set at an archeological dig site: each artifact unearthed has a section (a story) devoted to the corresponding time period. As you move through the layers of the dig, you move through the history of religion (idolatry to Judaism to Christianity to Islam). The "present-day" portion (set on the dig site, involving the archeological team) explores the modern-day Middle East tensions - which are so much more meaningful and rich after having read the sections about the past.
I haven't read this book for years, and yet I think about it frequently to this day - the stories are really haunting. I read a few Michener books in my youth, and this is definitely the one that "lasts" - it does not seem dated in the way the others do. If you want to be absorbed into a book for a long time (it's a long book)...if you want to meet many characters who will live with you possibly forever...if you want to learn more about the history of the area that birthed three religions and about the religions themselves...if you don't care about religion but just want a book that has ripping good yarn after ripping good yarn, so real that you can SEE the characters, the whole thing laced together with subtle but unifying themss...if you want a book that really quenches that thirst for a great story, that you will finish with a satisfied sigh...read this book, don't delay. Put some time aside - it is very much worth it.
Michner's storytelling style of history begins with archaeologists digging at a site in Makor. The early Hebrews life, the impact of Christianity, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition to present-day Israel and the Middle East Conflict are covered.
Michener provides a comprehensive history of the Jewish nation and its place in history. A very broad historical fiction. It has a slow start but soon becomes an engrossing novel. it was \"required reading\" for us before visiting Israel and gave a great understanding.
This is hands down, absolutely my favorite Michener novel. Truly wonderful!
This is my all-time favorite Michener book.
I can't even remember how many times I've read it.
I have never been able to complete this book. One reviewer on this list said it started slow. That was not the problem with me. Because of the constant switching from the present-day characters to the VERY distant past, I kept losing track of the story line.
This sweeping epic traces the fictitious history of Makor, a city in Israel, from prehistory to modern times. Starting in the 1960s, an archeological dig turns up artifacts in an ancient mound composed of the remains of successive settlements in Makor. Then, starting with the deepest, oldest artifact and moving forward in time, in successive chapters Michener chronologically describes the inhabitants (who are often descendants of characters in earlier chapters) and events in and around the city over thousands of years. In this way, he tells the fascinating story of the Jews and other local inhabitants, of Judaism and its role in the creation of Christianity and Islam, and of the establishment of the modern state of Israel.
Author is James A. Michener. 1088 pages. I could not read it due to size of print. I have always enjoyed other Michener books, but my gave out on page 18. Hope you can enjoy it. Carol
This is one of Michener's novels that I had the most difficulty getting "into" until I read the book a second time. It is full of detail, so filled with the long historical record of the middle east.
It still retains a place on my shelf, to be read yet again.
I would recommend if you have not read this novel, but have enjoyed Michener's other novels.
An extraordinary book, combining ancient and modern times. As an avid lifelong reader, I rarely re-read a book, except for this book. I read this book when it was first published in paperback. I still have my original copy, have read it once a year since I bought it. I have been looking for a replacement for years and finally found one on PBS.
A fine Michener Book giving the "jewish " history of a place in his usual manner. His usual "docudrama" in book form.
Terrific historical novel for a history buff.
This is my all time favorite book, at least of my youth. This one has great maps and what I thought was an admirable adherence to the historical record, for an imaginary city.
Excellent book of historical fiction. Classic James Michener.
I could not put this book down!!!
Written in 1965, I read it soon after, and if you had asked me, I would have said it was the best book ever written. I re-read parts of it now, and I'll still stick with my opinion, but it does seem kind of dated and 50s-style shallow today, with characters saying such cheery things like "Just like the Jews, denied religious liberty by all, they extend it to everyone." A lot of my attitudes towards that region, archeology and the ancient and medieval world were formed by this book, and I still think you can get more knowledge from it than most history books, but, my gosh, it's still a novel. Michener apparently was 300 years off on the date that the gospels were written (he has them being written in the 300s, it is now universally accepted that they were written 60AD-100AD), I don't know whether that is because of outdated scholarship or what.
A most interesting book for any Christian or Jew; this book provides an insight into the "Holy Land", its history and issues, in the form of a great novel.