I recommend this book to both christians and non-christians alike. However, when I do so, I cannot fully endorse everything Kitchen says (how could I? I am not familiar with the primary evidence?). I would recommend Kitchen as a solid and respectable example of the biblical maximalist school. However, scholars more familiar with the actual biblical material like Philip Davies of Sheffield (Note: Kitchen is an egyptologist, not a biblical scholar by training) express some discontent with Kitchen's conclusions. They don't always go to the extent of saying that he is WRONG per se, only that his conclusions can be overstated and not properly peer-reviewed. One would do well to recognize that many of Kitchen's evidences are designed to be more speculative than definitive. We Christians should be careful not to believe everything we read in maximalists just because it seems to appreciate the Bible more fully than minimalist works do. With those qualifications expressed, I highly encourage you to read this book and read others like it from different schools, knowing that all TRUTH is God's truth, sometimes it's just not what we expect.
I feel that this book is the authoritative work on the historical accuracy of the Old Testament. There are few errors, and Dr. Kitchen did well keeping his data remarkably neutral, something that many Christian apologists unfortunately fail to do. The data is thorough and very hard for anyone to refute. He addresses minimalist claims and shows well how little evidence there is to support them. I had previously used this book for a historiography paper in a class, and was so impressed with it that I bought it for a reference to my own person Bible studies. My instructor, an atheist, was also impressed with the book. This book is a classic, and I would recommend it as a must for anyone wanting to study the Old Testament.
I was expecting a book that represented what the selling points indicated. The book did not match at all. I wanted a book that an average person could understand and enjoy not something requiring a PHD in religion to understand. I was very disapointed and feel mislead.
According to Kitchen, there are more documents from the Ancient Near East (ANE) than from ancient Greece and Rome combined. However, most Old Testament (OT) scholars get limited exposure to these documents when pursuing their doctorates. Thus, there is a lot of ignorance about the ANE among OT scholars. The bold pronouncements by many scholars about the fictional character of much of the OT never get checked against ANE history. Kitchen claims OT scholars work in a vacuum from the OTs ANE background and history. Like a breath of fresh air, Kitchen's book systematically brings to bear documents, artifacts, and archeological findings on questions related to the historicity of the Old Testament. The results are very encouraging. Kitchen shows how the Bible contain customs, information, etc. that fit the era they claim to be from. For example, the Mosaic covenant fits the kind of covenants from Moses era, not from any other era. Ever wonder about Sarah giving Abraham her maidservent to have a baby for her, and Rachel and Leah doing the same for Jacob? Sure enough, that custom turns up in documents from precisely the era of the patriarchs, but not later. These kinds of things show up time and time again in Kitchen's book. Extensive endnotes give his ANE sources.The bottom line is that Kitchen shows how historically appropriate and "in-sync" the OT is with the ANE, throughout all of its history. It would have been impossible for later Jews to "create" Israelite history as skeptical scholars claim. The stuff in the OT fits too well. Theres no way later Jews could have gotten that all correct. Unfortunately, this valuable information will not get the wide exposure it deserves due to the books length and often technical nature. I wish Kitchen would create a more popular 125 page summary version of this that hits the highlights and be a true companion to F. F. Bruces The New Testament Documents: Are The Reliable?