I read the magazine "Biblical Archaeology" frequently and therefore thought I knew a bit about Middle Eastern archaeology--until I read this book.
It is packed with facts and debates by the most prominent archaelogists in the field. The amazing thing (to me, an historian by training) is that there is fundamental agreement on the facts. All agree, for example that the Merneptah Stele (a tablet dated at 1212 BCE) exists, that it is Egyptian in origin, and that the Egyptian pharaoh (then the most powerful man in the world) considered the conquest of the land and people Israel the most important feat of his reign. The tablet says as much. But why was defeating Israel so important? A lively debate rages.
Likewise all agree that a people called Hyksos came into Egypt and eventually became its rulers starting about 1800 BCE. Yet Hyksos is a Greek term and there is precious little consensus about who these people were. (Aside from the fact that they were Canaanites of some sort.)
All agree that there are stones bearing characters that can be read if one is fluent in Hebrew in what was called Raddana once (but is today called Ramallah) but a debate rages about whether these are signs of a "widespread" Israeli literacy or of a "privileged" class. All agree that Israeli pottery, houses, and artifacts are different from the general Canaanite ones and that ancient Israelites were very active traders because their artifacts have been found all over the Middle East and beyond. Yet there is an interesting debate about just what was it that made the Israelites different from Egyptians and other Canaanites.
There too is a very active debate about whether Egyptian style houses made their way to ancient Israel or the other way around. And that's just scratching the surface.
In short, if you want to know a bit about ancient Israel and Middle East and about the archaelogical debates about both, this is the perfect book to start you on an endlessly exciting road!