Emphasizing biographies of Jewish luminaries but also including books on Jewish themes, the new Jewish Encounters series aims to satisfy the interest in popular and intelligent books on Jewish subjects. The inaugural book in this commendable venture is a well-executed biography of David, written by Pinsky, former poet laureate of the United States. His poetic language is singularly appropriate for recounting the life of the king who is traditionally accepted as the author of the poetic psalms, some of which are included in the narrative. Pinsky's broad scope is reflected in his references to Greek literature, Shakespeare, Dante, Simone Weil, Talmudists and Robert Frost, among others. He acknowledges his indebtedness to Robert Alter, whose definitive book The David Story appeared in 1999, but fails to mention recent biographies by Steven McKenzie, Baruch Halpern and Gary Greenberg. His primary sources are the actual biblical texts that recount David's life. Pinsky dispels the conventional image of David as a simple shepherd who slew Goliath and became Israel's greatest king, depicting him realistically with all his failings as an adulterer, assassin and predator. Pinsky also portrays David's stellar achievements, presenting him as a complex character who deserves to be seen in shades of gray. (Sept. 20)
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Renowned poet, critic, translator of Dante's The Inferno, and former U.S. poet laureate, Pinsky brings his learnedness, literary finesse, and flair for vigorous interpretation to a vibrant and imaginative portrait of David, the biblical warrior, poet, king, and, according to Pinsky, wise guy. In shimmering, metaphor-rich prose, Pinsky considers the peculiarities, paradoxes, and timeless significance of David's often baffling story from his golden days as a handsome upstart confronting King Saul in "gangsterish" encounters to David's wild years as a desert Robin Hood and ascension to the throne. Observing that David's indelible story of daring, desire, power, and survival would fit right into Homer and Shakespeare, Pinsky is especially discerning in his portrayals of strong and strategic women, including Michal, with whom David shared equally intense love and hate, and Bathsheba, mother of Solomon. Witty, frank, skeptical, and clearly moved by mercurial David's chutzpah and losses, Pinsky brings remarkable lucidity, depth, and creativity to his dynamic and poetic reading of a legendary figure who has become emblematic of both destructive and heroic aspects of human nature. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Good recounting of the story by a great writer. Light on scholarship, historical context, and archaeological record. Does make you want to go back to the source, i.e. Samuel I, II. Read morePublished 1 month ago by mb
I start with a confession: I knew almost nothing about the life of Israel's second king. Yes, I'd heard of David's slingshot triumph over Goliath, and I was aware of some scandal... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Murray I. Suid
I was looking for a book which extracted the life of David chronologically apart from the biblical scriptures. This seems to be a good source.Published 16 months ago by Melissa D. in Arizona
Mr. Pinsky has researched the text excellently and even though i was very familiar with the main contours of David's life, i found much that Pinsky elaborates that i had missed... Read morePublished on May 30, 2013 by generallysatisfied customer
The story of David is told in the Old Testament books of Samuel and Chronicles. A boy comes from nowhere and by courage and daring makes himself king of the Israelite tribes, and... Read morePublished on November 16, 2012 by Robert S. Hanenberg
I thought this book was written in poor taste and I don't know where the author got his information. I know he definitely did not receive it from the Bible. Read morePublished on September 17, 2010 by PennyLou
A challenge to digest perhaps for the intellectual lazy,but well worth the effort. As some one already summed " About a Poet,For a Poet,By a Poet" In short Mr. Pinsky, Bravo!Published on April 14, 2008 by C. D. Besetsny
All you could ever want to know about David and a little more...Fascinating insight and information such as the fact that David may have been/probably was related to... Read morePublished on March 9, 2008 by Big D
This book was very disappointing. It was written in a stream of consciousness style with bizarre attempts to integrate modern analogies and to compare David to modern figures from... Read morePublished on January 3, 2007 by R. Shapiro