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David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible's Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition 

Finkelstein, I., and N. A. Silberman
New York: Free Press, 2006. ISBN 0743243625.
The authors sift through the archaeological evidence from dozens of sites dating to the first millennium B.C. and painstakingly analyze biblical history. They suggest that the exploits of David and Solomon were highly exaggerated to legitimize the political and religious goals of later regimes. See also our review. 352 pages.
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem 

Israel Museum
New York: Abrams, 2005. ISBN 0810959305.
The museum has assembled a renowned collection of artifacts, fine art, and Jewish ethnography over the past four decades. The archaeology section of this book is the most comprehensive, but gorgeous photography will compel even the most die-hard archaeology buff to appreciate the Picassos, Palestinian dresses, and Purim scrolls in the collection. 320 pages.
American Hostage 

Garen, M., and M. Carleton
New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005. ISBN 0743276604.
Micah Garen's memoir written with his life and documentary partner Marie-Hélène Carleton, reminds us that our knowledge of archaeological looting can come from journalists risking their lives to get the story out. See also our review. 288 pages.
Reclaiming a Plundered Past 

Bernhardsson, M.
Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006. ISBN 0292709471.
This political history of Iraqi archaeology argues that both colonial ambition and national identities were explicitly tied to the region's pre-Islamic heritage. See also our review. 348 pages.
Iraq Beyond the Headlines 

Foster, B., and K. Polinger Foster
London: World Scientific Publishing Company, 2005. ISBN 9812563792.
Intended for readers with little prior knowledge of the region, this book offers Iraq's history from the Neolithic period to the present, and archaeology in Iraq, respectively. See also our review. 292 pages.
The Looting of the Iraq Museum 

Polk, M., and A. Schuster, eds.
New York: Abrams, 2005. ISBN 0810958724.
A dozen scholars write archaeological overviews or accounts of the museum and its collections. See also our review. 256 pages.
Gertrude Bell 

Winstone, H.V.F.
London: Barzan Publishing, 2004. ISBN 0954772806.
A substantially revised, updated, and enlarged edition of the seminal 1978 biography. As the first woman officer in British military intelligence, Gertrude Bell gained the trust of powerful sheiks in the Middle East and was key to the creation of the national borders--and international conflicts--that still exist in the Middle East today. 366 pages.
Desert Queen 

Wallach, J.
New York: Anchor Books, 2005. ISBN 1400096197.
A new edition of the highly respected biography with a new afterword by the author. As the first woman officer in British military intelligence, Gertrude Bell gained the trust of powerful sheiks in the Middle East and was key to the creation of the national borders--and international conflicts--that still exist in the Middle East today. 464 pages.
The Goddess and the Bull 

Balter, M.
New York: Free Press, 2005. ISBN 0743243609.
"Art and architecture, organized religion, writing, cities, social inequity, warfare, population explosions...all the blessings and curses of modern civilization can be traced to the seminal moment in prehistory when people decided that they wanted to live together in communities," writes the author in this arresting book about the excavations of Catalhoyuk, one of the earliest sites to show evidence of this Neolithic Revolution. The folks behind the finds are exposed as well--both their triumphs and their bitter disputes. 416 pages.
Empires of the Plain: Henry Rawlinson and the Lost languages of Babylon 

Adkins, L.
New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005. ISBN 0312330022.
From 1827, Henry Ralinson, soldier, sportsman and imperial adventurer spent 25 years in India, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan in the service of the East India company. A gifted linguist fascinated by history and exploration, he became obsessed with cuneiform, the world's earliest writing. The key to understanding the many cuneiform scripts and languages was an immense inscription high on a sheer rock face at Bisitun in the mountains of western Iran, carved on the orders of King Darius the Great of Persia over 2,000 years ago. The author relates the story of Rawlinson's life and how he triumphed in deciphering the lost languages of Persia and Babylonia. Proving to the Victorian public that people and places in the Old Testament really existed, Rawlinson assured his own place in history. 424 pages.

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