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  ISRAEL'S SECRET SCIENTISTS -- HER FATHER ...

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  The BOOK of TELLING. Tracing the Secrets of My Father’s Lives. SHARONA MUIR. The Book of Telling'' is a new memoir by the award-winning author Sharona Ben-Tov Muir, published by Random House/Schocken Books. The author discovered by accident, after the death of her father, that he had invented Israel's first rocket, and had been a member of a secret group of scientists who had created weapons during Israel's war of independence.  The memoir describes Muir's journey to Israel to seek out the scientists, learn their story, and discover her father's hidden past.  Woven through her search are memories of her brilliant father, Itzhak Bentov, a medical inventor whose work, in various forms, is still saving lives; and whose wildly imaginative ideas about consciousness and the cosmos shaped Muir's girlhood. Ultimately, the memoir is about the creative human spirit: about invention, self-invention, and the inspiring, if complex, love between father and daughter. The book will appeal to anyone with an interest in Israel, in highly creative people and their ways, in stories of Americans discovering their family roots -- and in fine prose. The website contains advance praise for ''The Book of Telling,'' samples of its photographic illustrations, author information, links, contact information, a guestbook, and a copyright page.. www.thebookoftelling.com

"Sharona Muir's gifts for narrative, cultural insight and imagery make this memoir a brave and remarkable book ... a tender, but unflinching memoir of a lost soul, it is hard to forget. As a personalized account of a country shaped by desperation, it contains the kernel of the Israel we know -- or think we know -- today."

Times Literary Supplement

"Sharona Muir has written a gripping personal memoir about her odyssey to rediscover and reclaim her father. Along the way she uncovers some hard truths about the heroic founders of Israel and the beginnings of Israeli science. The Book of Telling keeps in all the fears and resentments and consolations and warmth of such a process -- at once her own story and the tale of a nation."

Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story

"The Book of Telling opens with a series of lyrical evocations of the elusive father whose influence made Sharona Muir into both a poet and a scholar. By the end of this memoir, her passionate investigation has drawn Itzhak Bentov partly out of the shadows that protected his work as an Israeli defense scientist and has given the book a historical scope that never ceases to be poignantly intimate."

Diane Middlebrook. author of Her Husband: Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes,
A Marriage

"The Book of Telling tells of a woman’s journey to uncover the secret life of her father and to find herself in the process, an unusual counterpoint between personal history and the history of a young nation. Haunting, powerful and beautifully written."

Alan Lightman, author of Einstein's Dreams

"An  extraordinary  story,  exceptionally  well  told and absolutely true to character. I met people like these during my years in Israel, painful amalgams of irrepressible brilliance and unconquerable melancholy who would sometimes allude to a mysterious past but seldom elaborated. Sharona Muir has done so well in getting them to talk while, at the same time, bringing out their faults and human flaws."

Norman Lebrecht, author of The Song of Names

After her father died, Sharona Muir learned by chance that he had invented Israel's first rocket.

Muir's parents divorced when she was very young, but she adored the father she saw on Saturday outings. She knew him as "Invention-a-Minute" Ben, a freelancer who designed gadgets and created surgical equipment that saved lives. Itzhak Bentov occasionally told stories of his early days in Israel, but it was only after he died that Muir accidentally learned he had been a member of a top-secret group of scientists called Hemmed, which made weapons for Israel's War of Independence.

Amazed by this discovery, Muir traveled to Israel to meet her father’s colleagues, a group of idealists -- many of them refugees from Europe -- who had been summoned by David Ben-Gurion to create weapons for a new nation. With the equivalent of $3,000, these young scientists set up shop in a rooftop shed in Tel Aviv, working day and night, falling asleep at their desks while still holding their pencils.

Through the memories they share, Muir comes to know the brilliant, impassioned, and creative young Bentov. She weaves her own memories of him into their stories: demonstrating his latest invention for her, taking her canoeing, sharing his wilder thoughts about consciousness and the cosmos. As the truths she seeks emerge, Muir elegantly evokes the hubbub of Jerusalem streets, the uncommon lives of her hosts, and the land and skyscapes of the Negev. The result--a story of invention and self-invention, of Israel's founding generation, and of a deep, abiding love between father and daughter --is an incandescent memoir.

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