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OK, my title is having fun with the book's subject matter. The discovery of Sodom was anything but accidental. The book plays out more like a detective novel than a non-fictional account of how Dr. Steven Collins found what is believed to be the site of Biblical history's most notorious city.
The "accidental discovery" is mine, in that I "discovered" the book through my network of writers on LinkedIn. Given that I have several thousand such connections I often receive messages from authors announcing their new releases. I love to congratulate fellow writers because getting published can be extremely difficult (says the guy who's still working at it), and in sending such a reply to the author -- Dr. Latayne Scott -- I asked if it was an Audible book yet, as I am almost exclusively an Audible "reader" these days. After receiving a rare "yes, it is," I read the synopsis, downloaded the book and crossed my fingers.
What a fantastic pay off! While I'm not totally unfamiliar with this non-fiction genre, it is seldom my first choice of books because they usually make very dry reading. Dr. Scott, it turns out, is a fantastic writer who brought the subject alive and basically had me sitting on the edge of my seat. I've known a good number of fictional writers who could learn a few lessons from her writing. My compliments, Dr. Scott. Well done!
There is one additional aspect about the book that deserves comment beyond the excellent writing and the fascinating story. The book makes a compelling defense of using Biblical references to enhance archeological and historical research. Until reading this book I was only vaguely aware of the prejudices against researchers like Dr. Collins who advocate such use of the Bible and the disdain scholars like him suffer from the more "scientifically myopic" researchers in the academic world. While Dr. Scott does not beat the reader over the head with this aspect, her writing subtlety makes a clear statement about the shortsightedness and wrongheadedness of such limited and prejudicial thinking. In the end, I was left with a new-found respect for the tenacity and faith researchers like Drs. Collin and Scott must draw on in the pursuit of their chosen life's work.
What a lucky find for me!
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