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The Last Israelite

Allen Childs

454 pp. • $32.00 • Hardcover • ISBN 978-0-88400-397-7

Pre-pub $29.00 with free shipping

Who was Eldad the Danite?

AD 878. Three mysterious figures board a Red Sea sailing vessel, , Dressed as Muslims they are in fact, Jews, far away from their home in Babylon. 

Adiva, clearly the leader, is accompanied by her brother and cousin. Seeking adventure unavailable in their homeland, they carry valuables for a Jewish banking family in Egypt. 

To their surprise, they are not the only passengers. Two Africans are aboard and they have their own reasons to keep to themselves.  

Adiva first notices the darker man with piercing blue eyes. The attraction is clearly mutual. 

She is intrigued when she realizes that they speak a form of Hebrew– only known from the sacred texts—and not Aramaic, the lingua franca of her world. 

The answer is startling. Adiva’s new friend, Eldad, explains: He is from the Hebrew tribe of Dan while Saul is from the neighboring tribe of Asher, both missing from history for well over a millennium.

Eldad set out from his people determined to unravel the mystery of an ancient book, which purportedly tells his family’s story back to the time of the Patriarch Abraham.  He discovers that the possibility of unlocking text lies in Babylon, the center of the Jewish world and Adiva’s home. Eldad’s passion to uncover his past is matched only by his eagerness to know Adiva better

A frightful storm threatens everyone, marooning them. In a desperate fight for survival, Eldad and Adiva become separated, and while she risks herself attempting to escape from pirates and slavers, he must face cannibals, starvation, and captivity. 

Eldad the Danite is known to us as a historical figure, but only in broad outlines. It was left up to the author, Allen Childs, to brilliantly imagine the details of his legendary adventure, illuminating the rich world and complex cultures that surround Eldad and Adiva. 

When they reach Baghdad, the rabbis, including Adiva’s father, greet Eldad and his story with skepticism since he holds none of the rabbinic traditions that developed over time. Can Eldad convince them that he is of the same origin as they? And can he and Adiva find a way to join as one?  

About the author

Allen Childs was a medical student at Parkland Hospital the day the mortally wounded President Kennedy was brought to the emergency room. His book, We Were There, brings together the memories of the medical students, interns, residents, and attending physicians who were the eyewitnesses to the tragedy.   

Childs has been a psychiatrist for 47 years.  He served as the US Army’s Chief of Mental Hygiene for the Island of Oahu during the Vietnam War where he published the first report on the soldier addicts of that conflict and  since then he has authored papers in many diverse fields. 

In 2010, his book Sixth Street (Arcadia Publications) was published, based on his childhood  spent on Austin’s famed East 6th Street where his family’s mom and pop shoe store was imbedded in a rich multiracial matrix.

Dr. Childs divides his time between his homes in the Washington D.C. area and in Dripping Springs, west of Austin, Texas.