This is an amazing book. I read this when my son was 7-8 months old, so when I came to the part where the people of Makor were sacrificing 6 month old first-born sons to the fiery god in order to have increased fertility in their land and their women, I had tears in my eyes. I was overwhelmed with love for my son and with thankfulness for the society we live in. I am so thankful the God I serve doesn’t ask for me to sacrifice my firstborn son. I am not sure I could do it. The women surely did not want to do it, as told of one of the women we were following. She had been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for 2 years, while all the other women around her were having children. When she finally did give birth, she was made by her husband to watch her child being rolled down the stone into the fire, and she was ordered not to utter a sound.
The book made me realize how passionate the Jews are for their unchanging religion and how they do not conform to whatever pressures the world throws at them. They have endured more pain and hardships than I can even imagine. The author, James Michener, wrote amazingly believable stories of people in each significant time period in history. The Crusades disgusted me that so-called Christians thought they had the right to brutally execute Jews because they did not believe the same about Jesus as the Christians. I had not remembered learning anything about the Spanish Inquisition – where Jews were forced to convert to Christianity or be tortured and executed. I think it is amazing how many Jews stood up for their faith and did not denounce others. Under that kind of pressure, I only hope that I would have that kind of strength.
I am so glad that I read this book. It was long, but a marvelous way to learn and understand history from cavemen times to now.