When Jerusalem fell in 70 AD, hundreds of Jews journeyed through the desert and settled in the haven of Masada. In what is now southern Israel, Masada was an old fortress of King Herod's that sits atop an enormous rock plateau surrounded by steep cliffs.
"When I was there, I felt so moved and so connected," author Alice Hoffman tells Laura Sullivan, guest host of weekends on All Things Considered.
Hoffman was so struck by the beauty of Masada's rocky terrain, she says, that she chose to make it the backdrop in her new novel, The Dovekeepers.
This past week, All Things Considered has been sharing stories about the Darkhorse Battalion — that's the Marine unit that suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the 10-year Afghan war. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman wraps up the series today, as he tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Laura Sullivan about some of the people he met — both on the battlefield and on the home front.
PETER SAGAL, host: Right now, panel, it's time for you to answer some questions about this week's news. Kyrie, this week in Colorado, there's outrage after yet another performance enhancing drug scandal. The winner of what competition has tested positive for a banned substance?
KYRIE O'CONNOR: It'll be one of those cup stacking things or...
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
O'CONNOR: Not the thing where you pack the grocery bags.