Recently I forced Russell to read The Handmaid's Tale (Atwood) so it seemed only fair that I read one of the books he's been wanting me to read.
Exodus by Leon Uris
Russell likes Exodus because its plot is compelling (particularly with the inclusion of the various characters' backstories) and it's pretty accurate. He also appreciates the fact that Uris covers some parts of the history that are usually completely overlooked (like the evacuation of all the Yemeni Jews). When he first read the novel, it compelled him to do research on his own to find out what actually happened.
I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated by Exodus's page count especially when coupled with its small text and narrow margins. But, while it's not a novel you can tackle in one afternoon, Exodus is not a difficult read. That's not to say that there aren't some sections that are hard to read, but that's to be expected given the subject matter.
Overall I thought Exodus was a very good read. Uris is heavy-handed at time and the romantic aspect of the story is unexpectedly tame, but neither of these things keeps Exodus from being an extremely compelling read. The inclusion of the main characters' various backstories (in one case going back generations) is the novel's biggest strength, not only do those stories provide context for the individual characters, they also provide a framework for understanding the broader history of the Jews.
Reading Exodus also made me realize how much I don't know about the foundation of the nation of Israel.
Russell says, now you have to read Trinity...