This book appeals to the lowest common denominator. It takes as heroine the wife of a crazed millennialist, whose mission was not only misguided in its time but eventually abused by those wish to interpret the 19th-century Christian adventist movement as zionist pre-history. The book appeals, in the most mercenary ways, to the associations of the words "Christian" and "woman." When these missionaries failed in converting either Moslems or Jews, they turned their attention to the existing local Christian denominations in Palestine, where they succeeded only by bribing people to convert. The authors try to fit this unfortunate missionary movement into the zionist myth of turning the desert green. Palestine, however, had always been an agricultural country, as well as a place that contains some barren and desert areas. In fact, the vast majority of the million Palestinians who became refugees when Israel was created in 1948 were farmers. That some people came with foreign agricultural ideas and others now are exploiting the land more to export products to Europe should not form any kind of justification. The substance of the book is slight, and the historical research is amateurish, biased, and uninformed.
Barbara Kreiger's well researched account of a 19th century American Christian woman who went to Palestine where she hoped to teach impoverished Jews of Palestine to farm is a little known but compelling story that heralds the agricultural development of Palestine in the century to come. It is terse, dramatic, moving in parts -- a must for anyone interested in the history of America's early involvement with the Holy Land.