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Fascinating book. the author is entertaining, insightful, and extraordinarly informative. while he does wear it on his sleeve the author does let his personal bias slip through a little too often. a greater level of detail on the academic background of some of the topics discussed would be appreciated.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I actually found this book only after listening to "The Disaster Artist", which the Bissell co-wrote with Greg Sestero about the latter's experience filiming "The Room". What a leap in subject matter! I've always had a curiousity about the Twelve Apostles, and this book is pretty much unique in covering them and visiting their tombs, and after "The Disater Artist" being such a great listen, my interest was piqued.
Bissell reads the book himself, and is quite good. While scholarly in presentation in parts, he injects the odd bit of humor, too, and he discusses his experiences with quite a bit of intimacy. His experiences in India and Greece were the sections that stood out the most to me, and I really felt for him in his misery visiting the tomb of Thomas in India.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Here’s a book that I immediately had no hesitation in recommending to friends when I was only a couple of chapters in and in which Tom Bissell delivers a travelogue, a detailed exegesis of the Gospels an early Christian history, and an insightful reflection of current geopolitics. Along the way I was hugely entertained by the day to day practicalities of the Kyrgyzstanian webcam trade, the sanctuary offered by Dominos Pizza’s restrooms in the former Madras and the reactions of foot pilgrims achieving their goal at the courtyards of Santiago de Compostela
The central idea was immediately attractive. (I say immediately - although I’ve been annoying the kids for years having spent time in Turin Duomo di Torino - San Giovanni Battista when the Shroud was publicly displayed in 2000, wandering around Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin just off the Piazza della Bocca della Veritas in Rome, looking for the skull of St Valentine when the boys wanted ice cream.....linking the bones found in Amalfi’s Cattedrale di Sant'Andrea and St Andrew’s Edinburgh and reading and making a mental note to visit Sainte-Chapelle when they wanted to be on the beach). The delivery was informative and authoritative whilst never condescending, not like holiday Dad I'm sorry to say.
Tom Bissell’s take on modern day Jerusalem seen through the prism of Judas Iscariot would, in itself, make this book worthwhile - but he continues on through countries and early centuries....always fascinating and always provocative. I could easily point to the Toulouse excursion as another highlight - and then to have the added bonus of listening to readings from St John and the Acts of the Apostles afresh...whilst unearthing a cogent and coherent guide New Testament apocrypha just added another level of delight.
Not once did I find the unanswerable question lying somewhere down the blind alley of belief prove a distraction to my enjoyment of his writing - you bring to and take from this book what you want, or is that what you need! As stated to my friends from Chapter 1 - a great read and, an effortlessly great writer.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful