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Jerusalem: The Biographyby Simon Sebag Montefiore
Synopses & Reviews
Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgement Day and the battlefield of today’s clash of civilizations. From King David to Barack Obama, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of three thousand years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism and coexistence.
How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the “center of the world” and now the key to peace in the Middle East? In a gripping narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals this ever-changing city in its many incarnations, bringing every epoch and character blazingly to life. Jerusalem’s biography is told through the wars, love affairs and revelations of the men and women—kings, empresses, prophets, poets, saints, conquerors and whores—who created, destroyed, chronicled and believed in Jerusalem. As well as the many ordinary Jerusalemites who have left their mark on the city, its cast varies from Solomon, Saladin and Suleiman the Magnificent to Cleopatra, Caligula and Churchill; from Abraham to Jesus and Muhammad; from the ancient world of Jezebel, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod and Nero to the modern times of the Kaiser, Disraeli, Mark Twain, Lincoln, Rasputin, Lawrence of Arabia and Moshe Dayan.
Drawing on new archives, current scholarship, his own family papers and a lifetime’s study, Montefiore illuminates the essence of sanctity and mysticism, identity and empire in a unique chronicle of the city that many believe will be the setting for the Apocalypse. This is how Jerusalem became Jerusalem, and the only city that exists twice—in heaven and on earth.
"Popular historian Montefiore (Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar) presents a panoramic narrative of Jerusalem, organized chronologically and delivered with magisterial flair. Spanning eras from King David to modern Israel with rich anecdotes and vivid detail, this exceptional volume portrays the personalities and worldviews of the dynasties and families that shaped the city throughout its 3,000-year history. Montefiore explains how religious and political influences created the city's character, while fostering its stature as a center of the Western religious world. He effectively demonstrates how political necessity stimulated and inspired religious devotion and how the portrayal of Jerusalem as a holy city sacred to three religions is relatively recent. Chapters are organized by epochs: Judaism, paganism, Christianity, Islam, Crusade, Mamluk, empire, and Zionism, with the body of the book ending with the Six-Day War. A balanced epilogue considers Jerusalem in the context of recent events. Drawing upon archival materials, archeological findings, recent scholarship, and his own family's papers (he is descended from the 19th-century Jewish leader Moses Montefiore), Montefiore delivers Jerusalem's unfolding story as epic panorama and nuanced documentary history, suitable for general and scholarly audiences. Photos and maps. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The history of Jerusalem is the history of the world, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the American Century. Now the author of the acclaimed Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar presents a grippingly original epic history of Jerusalem through the lives of those who created, destroyed, conquered, wrote about—and believed in—the Holy City.
Here are all the key players in a vast, thrilling, and intimate panorama that brings every epoch and titan blazingly to life, from King David to Jesus and Muhammad; from Maccabees and Herods to Churchill and Barack Obama; from Cleopatra, the Caliphs, and Saladin to Mark Twain and Rasputin; from Dayan, Arafat, and King Hussein to the author’s ancestor, Sir Moses Montefiore, who founded the new city of Jerusalem 150 years ago.
Drawing on new archival materials, the latest scholarship, his own family papers, and a lifetime’s study, Montefiore illuminates the essence of holiness, power, empire, and the only city that exists twice—in heaven and on earth.
About the Author
Simon Sebag Montefiore read history at Cambridge University. His books have been published in more than thirty-five languages. Potemkin: Catherine the Great’s Imperial Partner was short-listed for the Samuel Johnson, Duff Cooper and Marsh Biography prizes in Britain. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar was awarded the History Book of the Year Prize at the British Book Awards. Young Stalin won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, the Costa Biography Award (U.K.), le Grand Prix de la biographie politique (France) and the Bruno Kreisky Prize for Political Literature (Austria). A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Montefiore lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children.
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