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Posted February 17, 2008
I wasn't sure I was going to read this book because of the controversy over IQ that it's stirred. That would have been a big mistake. That's such a minor portion of the book, and after reading it, the author could not have avoided the subject. After all, throughout history, except for the modern period, Jews have been considered a 'race' and have considered themselves a 'race.' This book discusses race and the history of 'race' very thoughtfully and not polemically. The real strength of the book, and why I heartily recommend it, is its fascinating narrative on the origins of Judaism and Christianity, and the story of the Israelites. Bible lovers like me 'and I'm not a strong believer, I just love history', won't be able to put this book down. It weaves history, archaeology, and genetic anthropology. In some cases, such as in the story of Aaron and his descendants, the Jewish priests, it provides genetic witness to Biblical claims. But it's not afraid to follow the facts when science challenges the literal text. It reviews everything from Christ's genealogy to the story of the Lost Tribes to the real origins and ancestral make-up of today's Jews -- a hot potato to those challenging the so-called 'right of return' by Jews to what they say is their ancient homeland. It's not pro-Jewish. In fact it's neutral on political issues. It seems all about challenging the reader to think outside their comfort zone. This book reminds me of Jared Diamond's 'Guns, Germs and Steal.' I loved it.
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