Troubador The Third Tablet of the Holy Covenant

Released: 01/11/2013

ISBN: 9781783061587

eISBN: 9781783068807

Format: Paperback/eBook

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The Third Tablet of the Holy Covenant


Michael Baum was inspired by his experiences living in Israel and working on the archeological excavation of Masada, and draws on his family history of breast cancer and his Ashkenazi heritage in The Third Tablet of the Holy Covenant. He skilfully blends the molecular and biblical genealogy of the Jewish people with the fictitious search for an ancient relic to produce a gripping semi-autobiographical novel. The story follows Martin Tanner, who grows up in a poor Jewish family in the East End of London during the Second World War. A brilliant student, he goes on to qualify as a surgeon at University College London, learning along the way that his family is cursed with the Ashkenazi mutation, a defect in the DNA coding that leads to an increased risk of cancer. Martin is faced with many trials, including his mother undergoing a radical mastectomy and her subsequent suicide whilst he is serving in the RAMC during the Suez crisis. He immigrates to Israel in 1960 and serves as medical officer on the Masada dig in 1963 where he meets and falls in love with Sara, a nurse who suffers the same fate as his mother. The tragedy of Martin’s life is coupled with the discovery of the ‘Eliezer Scroll’ on the dig, which provides evidence that a codicil to the Mosaic tablets of the holy covenant could exist. The translation of these scrolls reveals that twin sisters escaped from the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 CE, carrying with them holy relics from the Temple... This book combines the quest for a biblical relic from the second Temple in Jerusalem, with the biblical and genetic anthropology of the Jewish people. Michael Baum uses passages of humour mixed with pathos, jogging along with the pace of a detective story.

"Breast Beating: one man's odyssey in the search for an understanding of breast cancer, the meaning of life and other easy questions" Anshan publishers, 2010, Short listed for Peoples book prize 2011
Michael Baum is both a pioneer and a visionary in the fight against Breast cancer. In this brutally honest biography, he shares the highs and lows of both the personal and professional battles he has faced in his life which continues to be dedicated to the improvement of the quality and length of lives of his cancer patients.
In this biography, we travel with Baum through the history of breast cancer, interwoven with the influences of his family, friends and Judaism, often clouded by a bittersweet relationship with the British health system.
Baum also gives the reader an insight into the role Holism in medicine and the benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach, from art, literature, mathematics and philosophy, and their contribution to better understanding both disease and treatment. He also discusses the dichotomy of hard-earned progress through dedicated cancer research and the parallel of a dramatic growth in disproven `Alternative Medicine'.
Breast cancer survivors are reminded of the debt of gratitude they owe to both Baum and other scientists who "think outside the box" and are prepared to fight for their conviction. The book is also a testimony to the patients who volunteer for clinical trials, often at great risk, so that the progress in treatments can go forward based on solid research, so that future generations can benefit from their devastating diagnosis.
A riveting and easy to read book about the life of a living legend that I just couldn't put down.
Loretta Marron
Breast Cancer Survivor

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Michael Baum

Current position: Professor Emeritus of Surgery and visiting Prof. of Medical Humanities, University College London.

Michael Baum qualified in medicine at Birmingham University medical school in 1960. He held chairs of surgery at Kings College London 1980-1990, the Institute of Cancer Research 1990- 1995 and University College London 1995 -2001. In the past he has been President of the British Oncology Association, the European Breast cancer conference and chairman of the psychosocial committee of the National Cancer Research Institute. He has been awarded the William McGuire prize at San Antonio Texas, the Charles Gross prize in France, the St Gallen prize in Switzerland, the gold medal of the International College of surgeons for his research into the treatment of breast cancer and most recently the gold medal for therapeutics from the worshipful society of apothecaries in London. He established the first clinical trials centres in the UK, was one of the first to challenge the doctrine of radical mastectomy, lead the first trial that demonstrated the potential of tamoxifen to prolong life amongst breast cancer victims and was also the first to describe psychometric instruments to measure quality of life in cancer sufferers. Most recently he has lead the first trial to demonstrate the equivalence of intra-operative single dose of radiotherapy with 6 weeks post-operative treatment. His recently published auto-biography “Breast Beating: One man’s odyssey in the search for an understanding of breast cancer, the meaning of life and other simple questions”

Married to Judy, three children, Richard, Katie and Suzanne and 9 grandchildren.

Other interests; painting and the history of art; philosophy of science; theatre and modern literature and the history of modern and ancient states of Israel.

The author in his study

Michael Baum with his international collaborators at the Royal Society of Medicine
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