Structured into self-contained, oft-interrelated period tales corresponding to archaelogical strata at a skillfully imagined dig, Michener bites off lots of history to chew. Latter episodes brim with cultural and political insight into modern Israel and its neighbors -- even decades after publication. Similarly, archaeological methods and personalities are nicely explored, with decent characterization. But many earlier historical episodes -- particularly the prehistoric and Byzantine tales -- are full of speculation and inconsistency, betraying a misunderstanding of human evolution and some crass Eurocentric biases (also evident in totally inconsistent non-phonetic spellings of non-English names/terms and widespread use of archaic King James translations of Jewish liturgy). And throughout, Michener goes out of his way to flaunt modern stereotypes about Jews (e.g. fancifully speculating that, among early populations, Hebrews were notoriously bad with money, or emphasizing the blue eyes of many Jewish characters) -- an understandable approach given that the book was written in the sensitive early post-Holocaust years, but the overall effect is tiresome, protesting too much. Overall, The Source is a wild ride with solid plotting and a particularly compelling wrap-up set in the then-present. But keep salt grains handy when reading this uneven romp through the history of one small place.