The Lifeboat that Saved the World

This story was so exciting. I’ve never thought about the more ancient story even though I was aware that there are many flood stories. I’m incorporating this into our ancient history lesson plans. From the publisher:

Four thousand years ago, long before the story of Noah’s Ark was written down in the Hebrew Bible, the Sumerians and Babylonians of Ancient Mesopotamia knew the story of the flood and the special boat that rescued all the animals. Its ancient Babylonian hero, Atra-hasis, was— just like Noah— ordered by his god to build a lifeboat to keep his family and all the animals safe until the flood was over. Unlike Noah, Atra-hasis was asked to build a round coracle boat the size of a soccer field—and given very precise instructions to follow.

Told from the perspective both of the central hero, Atra-hasis, and of his youngest son, Very-quick, this remarkable story is supplemented with asides that give fascinating insights into daily life in Ancient Mesopotamia as well as the historical sources for the story.

I went into reading this one not exactly sure if it was a creationist story or what. I was interested because we are deep into the ancients now and I like to include as much much mythology as I can to complement our textbook reading (Oak Meadow 6th grade history and The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way)

I don’t see many advance reviews for this book, and that’s a shame because I loved the narrative. Everyone knows the story of Noah’s Ark- but this puts a more human spin on it. They got into the Ark and got locked in knowing everyone would drown. I’m not saying it happened- but if it did, wow. Atra-hasis was very loyal to Enki, his god. We are reading it aloud now after I sped through the DRC that I speed read before this review.

Based on the flood story first recorded on Mesopotamian tablets over four thousand years ago there are nonfiction facts sprinkled throughout this text that enhances tieing it to actual human history. I called it Middle Grade, but elementary and high school students will enjoy it too.

The Lifeboat That Saved the World By Irving Finkel November 


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