Summary and book reviews of Abraham by Bruce Feiler

Abraham

A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths

By Bruce Feiler

Abraham

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

In this timely, provocative, and uplifting journey, the bestselling author of Walking the Bible searches for the man at the heart of the world's three monotheistic religions -- and today's deadliest conflicts.
At a moment when the world is asking, "Can the religions get along?" one figure stands out as the shared ancestor of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. One man holds the key to our deepest fears -- and our possible reconciliation. Abraham.
Bruce Feiler set out on a personal quest to better understand our common patriarch. Traveling in war zones, climbing through caves and ancient shrines, and sitting down with the world's leading religious minds, Feiler uncovers fascinating, little-known details of the man who defines faith for half the world.
Both immediate and timeless, Abraham is a powerful, universal story, the first-ever interfaith portrait of the man God chose to be his partner. Thoughtful and inspiring, it offers a rare vision of hope that will redefine what we think about our neighbors, our future, and ourselves.

Introduction
Home

They start walking just after dawn. They stream through the streets, begin climbing the hills, and drop a few coins in the outstretched palms of the poor. They leave their houses, their lives, their neighbors, and come by themselves or in groups of two or three. Their heads are covered, their eyes downturned. They are alone. But when they pass through the gates and lift up their eyes, suddenly they are in an illuminated place, a familial place. They are home. No one is alone in Jerusalem: even the stones know your father.

Once inside, the stream divides. Christians turn north. Today is the last Friday before Christmas, and this afternoon monks will lead a somber procession carrying crosses down the Via Dolorosa. Jews turn south. Today is the last Friday of Hanukkah, and at sunset rabbis will hold a jubilant ceremony lighting six candles at the Western Wall. Muslims turn East. Today is the last Friday of Ramadan, and at noon clerics will hold a massive prayer ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. On pages 18 through 19 Feiler writes, "He has no mother. He has no past. He has no personality. The man who will redefine the world appears suddenly, almost as an afterthought, with no trumpet fanfare, no fluttering doves… [Abram]…goes on to abandon his father at age seventy-five, leave his homeland, move to Canaan, travel to Egypt, father two sons change his name, cut off part of his penis, do the same for his teenager and newborn, exile his first son, attempt to kill his second, fight a world war, buy some land, bury his wife, father another family, and die at one hundred-seventy-five." What appeals to you most about Abram/Abraham's life? What part(s) of his life are most difficult to understand or admire?
  2. Feiler ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

A vivid and discerning tour through a land that reflects this epochal figure's life of exile, questioning...and faith.

Library Journal - Joyce Smothers

...a fifth-generation American Jew from the Deep South, wrote the best-selling Walking the Bible, his account of his own journey through the deserts of the Old Testament. This slighter follow-up focuses on the patriarch of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, whose story lies at the heart of the ongoing strife that began in the Middle East.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This is a joy to read. . . .a winning combination of history, travel, and spiritual memoir.

Booklist - John Green

Starred Review. Feiler poses some fascinating theological questions, but this isn't dry reading at all. Like his hugely popular Walking the Bible (2000), Feiler keeps our interest by mixing theological meditation with adventurous travelogue and sly wit. And this quietly brilliant examination of Abraham, which begins as part lit-crit thesis and part theological treatise, becomes, in the end, a passionate and prayerful argument for peace between faiths.

Miami Herald

An exciting, well-told story informed by Feiler's boundless intellectual curiosity...[and] sense of adventure.

New York Times

[Feiler] is an excellent guide...He has...invested [this book] with a keen intellectual curiosity.

Chicago Sun-Times

A powerful and spiritual pilgrimage…in every way, marvelous if not indispensable reading for anyone remotely interested in the Torah.

Los Angeles Times

Smart and savvy, insightful and illuminating.

Jerusalem Post

The perfect read for people who are interested in the Bible and the middle East.

Christian Science Monitor

Evocative, descriptive, emotionally honest, and often funny.

New York Times Book Review

Feiler delivers a wealth of information in an accessible and entertaining format.

USA Today

Bruce Feiler went looking for proof. He learned that proof doesn't matter.

Entertainment Weekly

An eloquently spiritual pilgrimage.

People

An inspirational oasis…From the barren land, Feiler emerges, like those whose paths he traces, renewed and transformed.

Boston Globe

An exquisitely written journey...100 percent engaging.--

Washington Post Book World

An instant classic…A pure joy to read.

Reader Reviews
Betty T

A Trip into Abraham's Land
I found the book to be very interesting. The author does not claim to be a scholar or an expert on any religion. He set out to explore the monotheistic religions in their settings. He first did this with his book "Walking the Bible". With ...   Read More

melindaborrell

Feiler's book reaches for emotional and spiritual meaning, but fails to hit its mark, at least with this reader. His scholarship should be impeccable, not personal. I found particularly distasteful his use of 9/11 to heighten the emotional aspect of ...   Read More

Anonymous

Feiler tells little that he couldn't have found on the internet. His folksy style seems out of tune with his material. I found the book quite dull reading.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Abraham, try these:

  • Palestine jacket

    Palestine

    by Jimmy Carter

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Following his #1 New York Times bestseller, Our Endangered Values, the former president, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, offers an assessment of what must be done to bring permanent peace to Israel with dignity and justice to Palestine.

  • Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea jacket

    Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea

    by Thomas Cahill

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    In the fourth volume of the acclaimed Hinges of History series, Cahill brings his characteristic wit and style to a fascinating tour of ancient Greece.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...
  • Book Jacket: Toms River
    Toms River
    by Dan Fagin
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction

    In Toms River, investigative journalist Dan Fagin ...
  • Book Jacket: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
    by Gabrielle Zevin
    I feel like Gabrielle Zevin wrote this wonderful book, about a lonely New England bookstore owner ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.