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A work of broad appeal, for the history buff and mystery lover alike.

The search for the world’s oldest biblical manuscript.

In an intriguing and wide-ranging tale, journalist Tigay takes readers along on a mystery spanning two centuries and four continents. The author, son of a Hebrew scholar, became fascinated with the story of Moses Wilhelm Shapira, a Jewish-born Christian convert who dealt in antiquities and was briefly one of the most famous men in England. Prior to his suicide in 1884, Shapira had claimed to have procured an original copy of the book of Deuteronomy, a find that was poised to shake the foundations of biblical scholarship. However, accusations that the document was forged led Shapira to disappear and, eventually, take his own life. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls several decades later renewed the possibility that Shapira’s scrolls were real; but by then, they were lost. Tigay is the latest in a line of scholars and adventurers intent on discovering more about Shapira and, if possible, his mysterious scrolls. The author succeeds in weaving two stories together: the tale of Shapira’s life, career, and downfall and his own search for the scrolls. Both are arresting. Shapira’s tragic tale, painstakingly reconstructed, is touching and informative. “No matter how far Shapira had come or how high he had climbed…the world he had so strived to impress and in which he had tried so desperately to fit still saw him as a tricky little Jew from Poland,” writes the author. His own tale concerning his dogged search for the manuscript builds satisfying drama. He takes readers along on forays into quaint museums, aging archives, libraries of all sizes, private homes, and even the unoccupied space where Shapira took his own life. In the end, Tigay found what he was looking for, though not as he expected. Beyond that, he also came to know Shapira as a human being, not simply as a shadowy figure from the past.

A work of broad appeal, for the history buff and mystery lover alike.

Pub Date: March 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-220641-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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