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Moses, Man of the Mountain Paperback – December 30, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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“The real thing, warm, humorous, poetic.” (The New Yorker)

“A narrative of great power. Warm with friendly personality and pulsating with...profound eloquence and religious fervor.” (New York Times)

From the Back Cover

Blends the Moses of the Old Testament with Moses of black folklore and song to create a powerful novel of the persecution of slavery, the dream of freedom, and the redemption of the faithful.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061695149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061695148
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In the introduction to this 1939 novel, Hurston says that Africans (and, by extension African Americans) revere Moses "not because of his beard nor because he brought the laws down from Sinai" but "because he had the power to go up the mountain and bring them down. . . . [W]ho can talk with God face to face? Who has the power to command God to go to a peak of mountain and there demand of Him laws with which to govern a nation? . . . That calls for power, and that is what Africa sees in Moses."

Hurston incorporates the African tradition into her retelling of the Exodus story, along with that tradition's humor, colloquialisms, wit, irreverence, and apocryphal embellishments. The result is probably her most accessible work, an undemanding read that still reflects a mirror on such issues as politics, slavery, and feminism. The novel is remarkably faithful to the original, but Hurston's Old Testaments heroes and their adversaries are fleshed out as lethargic, selfish, dithering, conniving, as well as joyous, loving, and (above all) human. Moses's brother Aaron and sister Miriam, for example, are depicted as much a hindrance to the movement as a help.

Moses himself is presented warts and all. As expected, he's the savior who leads a slave nation from captivity to the freedom of a Promised Land, the wise prophet who brings law and government to an unruly and divided people. Still, Hurston's Moses observes that "the first law of Nature is that everybody likes to receive things, but nobody likes to feel grateful. And the very next law is that people talk about tenderness and mercy, but they love force. If you feed a thousand people you are a nice man with suspicious motives. If you kill a thousand you a hero.
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By A Customer on January 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
Now, I admit that I had a hard time getting into this book. The reason...The Ten Commandments! The image of Charlton Heston parting the Red Sea kept playing through my head. I eventually got over it, all due to the narrative that this wonderful author told this story. I found myself captivated. Hurston made Moses human, with human needs and problems. This made his faith more real. Wonderful, I can't praise it enough. Check out Chapter 27, pg. 180 for a famous quote. I couldn't help but to think that Hurston knew more than she was telling. I have the feeling that she forsaw the Civil Rights Movement, some 20 years before it actually happened, this book was published in 1939. Very good!!
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As a 55+yr old man I'm ashamed to admit I had to first hear of this author only recently via the Google start up page. They were highlighting Ms. Hurston for black history month. I clicked on the info tab, for the first time ever, and viewed her accolades. I first noticed the time period in which she lived, and the relative current events during her time period. The script appears to be intentionally written to fit the colloquium of readers of the 1900's while depicting similar political cultures 30 centuries ago. It seems as if Ms Hurston had done some 'trav-lin' to NE Africa or at least heavily studied that ancient culture. Most of us are familiar with the Bible story of the Great Hebrew Escape, but we only know the cap points, of the table of contents, of the Cliff Notes, of the summarized essay, OWKA the Bible. We theologians are left sparing one another to surmise the fill-ins: how did the Hebrew live day to day amidst pharaoh's infanticide campaign; how did Moses interact with the priest of Midian for 40 yrs; why were Jethro's daughters left alone to fetch water if he, the Priest of Midian was head of the whole region; how did Moses get the slaves to listen his 'strange god'; were the miracles... feats of divine magic, or a divine miraculous intersection of natural events? Zora doesn't just clothe, but majestically adorns the literary skeleton of the biblical account with such realistic insulation fill-ins. The way she plays it makes so much common sense. Her rich perspective is head and shoulders above any biblical commentary I’ve read, in their attempts to enliven a 3,000 yr old culture in today’s perspective.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
A good read. Hurston does an excellent job of depicting the parallel experiences of the captivity of the Israelites and the American Slave. In fact, one could argue that the experience of the Israelites is the American Slave experience. This is a great book for high school reading, it provides a variety of cause and effect themes that all young adults need to know; among them, if you oppress a people or person you breed fear, insecurity, and eventual self hatred in that human. I highly recommend Their Eyes Were Watching God another of Hurston's literary jewels. jewels.
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By A Customer on January 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
A poetic, topical book that puts a contemporary twist on historical and spiritual (and political) issues pertaining to human rights and human potential. Highly recommended. Readers young and old should also pick up Hurston's "Tell My Horse: Voodoo And Life In Haiti And Jamaica."
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