My-oh-my, what a ride! Whether you believe the Pentateuch to be fiction or fact, is irrelevant in regards to reading this story. I am, however, compelled to advise that if you believe it’s fiction, you may come out the other end of it with a different mindset concerning the authenticity of the Book II in the Old Testament’s kickoff. You might even find your own ideas on theology and Middle Eastern history to be challenged. But, not to worry! It’s a great story either way!
Regardless of your opinion on any of these things, the book is a fantastic read! It’s presented as factual, and is packed with adventure and introspection of those involved to make even the associated world-wide political endeavors and military activities of the time, to be of consequential interest.
The author, Howard Blum, has a background in journalism and although he incorporated what seems to be a small margin of theatrical license in changing some names and some descriptions of a few of the real-life characters involved, to me it appeared that he kept those incidents to a minimum. The core of the story and its descriptions are told accurately in how it was told to him from the men who experienced it, Larry Williams and Bob Cornuke.
Mr. Blum’s effective relation of these men’s travels into scorched deserts had me feeling as if I was right there with them, with sand blowing against my skin, the sun beating down on my head, and praying for an oasis to miraculously appear over the next dune. He doesn’t get tedious with the telling. He keeps it as minimal as possible, yet he’s very effective in putting you right there, allowing you to experience the adventure, silently observing from a near first-person perspective.
I read several positive reviews about this book before I acquired it, but I also encountered several negative ones. Regardless of the negative reviews, over many years of reading, I’ve learned to trust and heed the recommendations of my friends and colleagues regarding which books to invest my money and my time in.
More than half of the books I’ve ever read (including those that were academically required reading) were selected upon the advice of friends and colleagues, convincing me to read it because of how much they enjoyed it.
Once more, that sort of advice has proven to be far more accurate than the advice of a negative review posted by someone I’m not familiar with — especially if they’ve taken the time to slam the work, but posted their name as Anonymous.
Thankfully, this is my habit, because if it weren’t, I’d have bypassed a magnificent read!
If you have a penchant for archaeology and ancient history, this book will fascinate you. A few of the discoveries related in the story may not be news, but to those involved they certainly were, and to make them in such outrageous and terrific environments will make it completely worth your while.
I’ve traveled overseas several times, living and spending a good amount of time abroad, however, I have never lived in, or visited the Middle East, or any desert, other than parts of Texas and Oklahoma. After reading the account of these two men’s adventures in their quest to retrace path of Moses from Egypt to ancient Midian and back again, in search of the real Mt. Sinai, and the real path the Hebrews took in their flight to freedom — the telling was descriptive enough for me to have a very good idea of what travel and stays in those countries just might be like.
The crossing of the Red Sea, out of Egypt, and their magnificent discovery at the bottom of it, their first look at Jethro’s valley and Jabal al-Lawz had my mind gripped, during each phase of their dangerous journey, as they trekked further into unfriendly territory (unfriendly to most Americans), risking life, limbs and heads, to see and experience God’s mountain and the place where He made his desires known to Moses and the Hebrew escapees.
The men’s on-the-fly solutions to life-threatening problems, their admission to the emotions and desires propelling them further on their quest, even when associated events made the entire adventure seem impossible, gave me an in depth perspective of what it is to pursue a dream and desire, even when allies and resources falter and fail.
A small heads up on content. I think for adult readers, this book is an excellent true-to-life recount. There are no sex scenes in it, but there are a few, very small spatterings of salty-language included in a few of the quotes, in accordance with the factual take on the account.
On a star-scale of one to five, from me, this book easily gets five stars. It was my first reading of the Harold Blum’s work, and he hit it out of the park.
You can find out more about this magnificent author and his other work on his website at: http://howardblum.com.