A while back, I stumbled across a book called ‘The Jericho River’, written by a smart young fellow, David Carthage.
Now, the reason that The Jericho River piqued my interest, was that it seemed to be a literary prototype, one that may well lead to a very positive evolution of education.
The Jericho River could simply be described as a multi-dimensional, and multi-disciplinary teaching tool, crafted as a heart warming story of a youth trying to rescue his father, finding himself in the process. The journey of teenager, Jason Gallo, going back through time to bring his father home, has all the trappings of a well staged story. But, The Jericho River is actually so much more. However, by the time that you realize it, you’re hopelessly caught up by the book’s currents, and are swiftly sent swirling over the waterfalls of time.
I could go on and on about how Carthage artfully weaves time, place, fact and fiction into chapter after chapter of heroism, failure and discovery, but, my interest was not primarily in his painstakingly painted passages of print. Yes, David is a literary Van Gogh, a wordmaster that digitally brushes several mediums from his palette to create a mental mural that transcends convention, but it wasn’t his clever cast of characters, or an amazing ambidextrous ability with adjectives and adverbs, that enchanted me. So, what was the cause of my focus on The Jericho River? Well, as I said, I believe that it is a literary prototype, and very, very possibly the next evolution of education.
Boredom has historically been the plight of leather bound pages, those ponderous papyrus records of fact that possess the spirit of mankind in print, and which were written with all the excitement and passion that drudgery provides. But, Carthage has ripped pages off shelves from the libraries of man, and has created historical collages that are vividly human, current, educational, and best of all, entertaining.
As a lover of history, and one who is just wise enough to be sure that those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat its mistakes, I was thrilled to find someone who finally found a way to take very different educational ores, forging them into a new and marvelous alloy. The dust of antiquity that coats historical learning gets swept away by The Jericho River, as it bears the reader toward a better way of learning. It seemed that as each page turned, like little motion activated mind fresheners, literary puffs of fact were blown toward my consciousness by well-timed footnotes.
I followed ancient stories that rose from the pages like printed pyramids from the jungles of what I thought I knew, as trivial truths tripped my knowledge of time and history, landing me face first into streams of fascinating fact. The farther into the book I journeyed, the thirstier I became for more, and the more that I drank in, the more intoxicated I got from draining misty mugs of myth, filled to the brim with historical Harvey Wallbangers. Before I could sober myself enough to realize what was happening, I had absorbed information that would normally be so boring, that I would have had to resort to the use of psychological tricks to retain it.
In my opinion, David Carthage is a pioneer in educational evolution, a man who has found a way to both consciously, and subconsciously, teach us by supplanting and supporting historical education with entertainment. The Jericho River doesn’t change the basic dough of history, it simply sweetens it with mindwatering flavors and tops it with intriguing icings.
The Jericho River smashes the molds of cookie cutter education, then uses the fragments remaining to create a mosaic of myth and magic that follows the fabric of time. In simple summation, this book makes it fun to learn by combining history, religions, philosophy, myths and legends. I hope to soon see this book as required reading material in literature and/or history classes in schools, and more books like it, written on other subject matters.
Check out The Jericho River website at http://www.jerichoriver.com
About The Author:
David Carthage is a lawyer, with degrees from Harvard Law School and Cambridge University (Queens’ College). He also has a B.A. in history from U.C. Berkeley. He lives and works in Northern California.
David is a dedicated history buff who reads about the past almost constantly. He’s also passionate about teaching, and loves repackaging big, complex topics in a way that’s fun, exciting, and easy to understand.
Book Review By: W. Lewis, Publisher at The Northern Star