Friday, December 16, 2011

Book Review: Unveiling the Kings of Israel

When I first read about this book, I knew I had to get it for my archaeologist wannabe.  Thomas, 11, plans to go into classical archaeology.  Not necessarily biblical archaeology, mind you, but he does have that on his list of possibilities too.  He tends to be more interested in Rome -- particularly the early Christian era.  But a book like Unveiling the Kings of Israel with a subtitle of "Revealing the Bible's Archaeological History" is a sure-fire hit with him.  Written by David Down, who also wrote The Archaeology Book (which we own and love) and Unwrapping the Pharaohs (which I had hoped to get Thomas for Christmas, but alas, that isn't a possibility right now).

This book is fantastic. 

But you probably want to know more than that, huh?

Okay, so here is what the publisher had to say:
“Correctly interpreted, the historical records of Egypt and Israel show a remarkable consistency with the Bible records which we can accept as not only inspiring but entirely reliable.”
-From the Introduction
Unearth the history of the small nation of Israel – the troubled and devastating periods of loss and exile – once lost to time. Far from being a book of myths, the Bible is an amazing historical record, and each year, more archaeological discoveries continue to prove its validity and significance. Follow the intriguing clues found buried in ancient cities, on the walls of early monuments, and in the written records of our world’s oldest civilizations. Walk the ancient streets, explore the distant temples, and unearth the compelling history that continues to resonate with the world today.
  • Cultural references proven through artifacts and archives displayed in full color
  • Fascinating accounts that fill in some of history’s unwritten record
  • Follow the Biblical timeline through detailed photos and examples
This eye opening and provocative assemblage of literary history and effervescent illustrations, creates a book that you just can’t put down. For years to come, this book will be an enduring resource for children, scholars, students, or anyone interested in learning more about biblical archaeology and its place in history.
They list this book as being appropriate for high school level students.  However, I am reading it aloud with all my boys.  Connor (9th grade) is certainly an appropriate age.  William (7th grade) is as well, and I'd say this book is generally appropriate for junior high and up.  Thomas (5th grade)... well, this works incredibly well for him because this is what he wants to do when he grows up.  Richard (2nd grade) doesn't listen to it all... he checks out the pictures, and tunes in to parts that grab his attention.  He zones out or finds something else to do for pretty big chunks of it.

Trina (kindergarten)?  Yeah.  Her comment when I asked yesterday what they all thought of the book.  "I've got two words for this book:  bore.  ring."  Okay, so I have to work on her reviewing skills here... not to mention some English skills...

The big three though, they couldn't say enough about it.  "This stuff is fascinating!" said one.  "I don't want it to end!" said another.  "It is so great how, what is his name?  Mr. Down.  How Mr. Down talks about traditional dating methods and how the Bible isn't supported really well with those, but how using the revised chronology that he apparently details in that one Pharaohs book, archaeologists are finding exactly what they would expect if the Bible is true.  I like that he talks about the archaeological viewpoints that he doesn't agree with and he does so respectfully." 

I am impressed with the "next door neighbor" tone of his writing.  He doesn't intimidate or sound unnecessarily scholarly... though he does use a reasonably sophisticated vocabulary. 

This book starts with Genesis, and goes through Christ (we aren't quite that far yet).  Each chapter takes an era or a person, and it goes into the archaeological evidence, including some stories of how the evidence was found, and some writings from various archaeologists.  There are gorgeous photos throughout.

This is great for budding archaeologists, but also for anyone who is interested in general topics of defending their faith, or who would like some interesting insight into some of the Bible stories.

One way or another, we plan to own everything that David Down ever puts out.

Disclaimer:   I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group.  No other compensation was received.  The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.   


Leah Courtney said...

I reviewed this also and really liked it! I'm stopping by to say hi from Molly's Home Team.

Unknown said...

I loved this book too! I got my nephew Dragons: Legends and Lore of Dinosaurs, but this book was a close second on my list.