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The Source [Paperback]

James A. Michener
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: 13.99
Price: 9.65 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

15 Aug 2002
In his signature style of grand storytelling, James A. Michener transports us back thousands of years to the Holy Land. Through the discoveries of modern archaeologists excavating the site of Tell Makor, Michener vividly re-creates life in an ancient city and traces the profound history of the Jewish people—from the persecution of the early Hebrews, the rise of Christianity, and the Crusades to the founding of Israel and the modern conflict in the Middle East. An epic tale of love, strength, and faith, The Source is a richly written saga that encompasses the history of Western civilization and the great religious and cultural ideas that have shaped our world.
Praise for The Source
“Fascinating . . . stunning . . . [a] wonderful rampage through history . . . Biblical history, as seen through the eyes of a professor who is puzzled, appalled, delighted, enriched and impoverished by the spectacle of a land where all men are archeologists.”The New York Times
“A sweeping [novel] filled with excitement—pagan ritual, the clash of armies, ancient and modern: the evolving drama of man’s faith.”The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Magnificent . . . a superlative piece of writing both in scope and technique . . . one of the great books of this generation.”San Francisco Call Bulletin

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Product details

  • Paperback: 908 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc; New edition edition (15 Aug 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375760385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375760389
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 141,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will keep you out of mischief... 13 Oct 2007
By Bezzer
A huge book covering the stories of many different characters. The book is episodic in nature with a story from each 'era' in the history of the area in which the archeological dig is taking place. A couple of the eras are close together, so you get an overlap of characters, but mostly they are separated by significant periods of time. In each episode, at least one character is, unknowingly, descended from the main hunter/gatherer character in the first episode - these characters always have an instinctive connection with the site. As a story-telling device it is a bit contrived but doesn't detract from the story in general.

The episodes are interspersed with the contemporary on-going story of the archeologists and others associated with the site in modern-day Israel. This means that you are pulled back and forth between historical times and today. I found this helped to break up what would otherwise have been quite a heavy read. The episodic nature also means that you get a beginning/middle/end story in a bite-size chunk which makes putting it down when you need to a lot easier.

I first read the book in the 1980's and was completely absorbed by it. I knew nothing about Jewish culture and only that 'history' which I had learnt during childhood from the Bible and, of course, the more recent events in the 20th Century. The book was an interesting introduction to Jewish culture and made me think about its origins. It was also interesting to see the parallel history of other cultures in the area, particularly Arabic, and very depressing to read of the events that occurred in 1948 when modern Israel was born.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly absorbing 30 Dec 2006
Really a series of stories using artefacts found on an archaeological dig as a theme and progressing to recent times. They are sentimental without being sloppy and possess an epic quality not found in more recent historical fiction. Though I found the earlier stories more interesting than the later ones I am pleased to have revisited the book in 2006, having first read it in the late 1960's. Michener's depiction of Stone Age life would probably be different if he were writing today - but this is hardly surprising.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Nigel Collier VINE VOICE
I have to confess I picked up my copy of The Source not from Amazon but from a tiny secondhand bookshop. It was tucked away in a musty back cellar of the shop and, being a Judeophile, I was attracted to this tome by nothing more than the golden menorah on its spine. I have to say that The Source represents one of the most impressive feats of story telling I have ever encountered, albeit by happy accident.

I was surprised to read the impressive list of James A Michener's other titles - having read The Source I was left wondering how can one man write with such authority and passion about more than a single subject - I assumed that this book alone must surely represent a life's work - it is so detailed (an extremely dense 900 pages) and meticulously researched.

The Source is essentially a story offering some insights, within an inseparable historical context, of what it means to be Jewish. I feel it left me with what I think is a grasp of what 'Jewishness' means and the history and traditions it aims to perpetuate and personalise - quite a claim I know.

The book is a series of vignettes recounting the history of the Jewish people through beautifully crafted characters whose lives were defined by their interaction with the development of Judaism. These characters span thousands of years and we see Jews and Judaism from within and from without - through the eyes of the tormentors and the tormented, the Ashkenazim of the German ghetto, the Crusaders, the Romans, Zionists, Mamelukes and Palestinians.

The central - though actually peripheral - narrative takes place at an archaeological dig at a fictitious tell lying close to the port of Akko on the ancient route from the Mediterranean to Damascus.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Memorable Historical Novel 18 Aug 2010
Artefacts found at archaeological site are the basis for each section, or story of 'The Source'. The items which are unearthed provide the pivot or theme around which the each story is written - these relate to the period and lifestyle of the time when the artefact would have been used, and provide a continuous account of the dig.
The Source is a book which is fascinating, absorbing and definitely hard to put down. Although it is a lengthy novel it never palls, and I regretted when I'd reached the final chapter. I was impressed by the amount of research that had gone into producing such a book.
The characters are strong, forceful and believable; relationships are explored thoroughly yet the reader is free to form their own opinion of any/each character. Of the Michener books I've read this by far my favourite and I'm re reading it again and again since it was first published in the 1960's.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rollicking roller coaster 27 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A great holiday read. Full of fairly accurate historical facts as well! This book got me hooked on idea of going to Israel 20 years ago and it's still good now.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars History in small portions
A most interesting and educational survey of life in Isreal over a period of 10,000 years through a number of snapshots
Published 22 days ago by C. W. Stammers
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read
An extensive read about an archaeological dig in a 'tell' on the road between Jerusalem and Damascus. The dig uncovers fragments of past eras going back to the stone age. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Georgette
2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea but ....
I found this book rather heavy going with too many Jewish names to sort out. It was overlong and even after a recent visit to Israel it has not made this my favourite book.
Published 5 months ago by Mop
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book
If I were to find myself on a desert island this is the book I would want to have with me.
I read it years ago, and loved it as much the second time around
Published 6 months ago by Norma Gardiner
4.0 out of 5 stars Memories
I loved this book when I first read it, about 40 years ago, and I have just bought it for my daughter, whose education seems to have a hole in this area! Read more
Published 9 months ago by Desdemona
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging!
First read this 20 + years ago, and have reread it twice. It started my process of thinking through what I thought I believed! Brilliant concept, well written.
Published 11 months ago by Chris C. Betts
5.0 out of 5 stars very good book
very good book interesting and a very good read , would recommend it to any one who likes history told in a story
came on time
Published 11 months ago by highpoint
1.0 out of 5 stars The Source
Bought this on recommendation of a friend but found it far too convoluted and a bit like Dickens where the main plot is submerged in too many diversions
Published 14 months ago by William Rodgers
3.0 out of 5 stars The source - Makor
The book was delivered promptly in good conditon. It is an interesting if undemanding read about various people who lived at Makor over the prehistoric and historic eras. Read more
Published 21 months ago by A. J. Fraser
5.0 out of 5 stars the source
This book is a novel but there are so many facts that I thought I was reading history. I couldn't put it down.
Published on 19 May 2010 by Mrs. A. R. Fisher
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