Monday, July 28, 2008

The White Bedouin by George Potter

The White Bedouin by George Potter

Jake Sorenson takes a summer internship in Arabia, and while there listens to a tale about the White Bedouin, supposedly an American man called Al-Mormon, who came to work for the oil companies in the early days of drilling. As Jake discovers more and more about his man, and his legend he thinks that he was a man named Stephan Markham, an LDS boy from Utah, who left behind a fiancĂ©e during the depression era. The records say that he died, but Jake is not convinced, and goes on a search for this man who reportedly defeated an evil genie in the “Empty Quarter,” and rescued several geologist acquaintances of his, good Samaritan style, after they were attacked by Arab Raiders in the middle of the desert.

This book is told from two points of view. The first point of view is from Jake Sorenson, and the second point of view, which constitutes the majority of the book, is Stephan Markham. I had several major issues with this book, the first being that the author really does need to stay true to his characters, and their historical time period. It drove me insane that Stephan Markham an LDS church member in the 1930's was basically predicting the coming of the Internet from a scripture. Then there was the moment that I realized that the author was going to make this book a pseudo FARMS article. That was not a happy moment, especially since the author repeatedly manipulated historical facts, made inaccurate assumptions, portrayed mere speculation as fact— supported with footnotes no less! This was not a book healthy for my penchant for historical accuracy.

Despite all these things that made me frustrated with the book. I read it and enjoyed many parts of it. I did not put it down for two days. The author does very well at portraying the fascinating culture of the Bedouin Muslim. The myth of the White Bedouin captured my imagination, and kept me reading. The character of Stephen Markham and his story really is interesting and compelling, almost mythical. So, if you can deal with mini far-fetched, though sometimes interesting, FARMS articles smashed into a compelling, unique story then you should think about picking this one up.

I couldn't find a website dedicated to George Potter's novelist career, but he is in charge of the Nephite Project, and his books are for sale there. Check it out here:

1 comment:

Karlene said...

Sounds interesting. Thanks for the review.