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"Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize Jerusalem's biography is told through the wars, love affairs and revelations of the men and women DOWNLOAD OPTIONS. Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore. Read online, or download in secure EPUB format. Jerusalem is the epic history of three thousand years of faith, fanaticism, bloodshed, and coexistence, from King David to the 21st century, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict. In a gripping narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals.

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Editorial Reviews. Review. “A fittingly vast and dazzling portrait of Jerusalem, utterly compelling Due to its large file size, this book may take longer to download. Get news about History books, authors, and more. Also get news Jerusalem by Simon Sebag Montefiore. Read an Excerpt Buy the Audiobook Download. Jerusalem book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine.

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It is a messy, complicated, and bloodstained city that has at times been Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. It is, simply put, as complicated a place as it is holy. The Biography sets out the very ambitious task of telling the story of this embodiment of contradictions. It presents an unbroken account of what was happening to the city and the surrounding area from its founding through the present day.

I think in some ways the book succeeds in relating the events of Jerusalem but fails in telling the story of Jerusalem. What I mean by that is Montefiore does a very thorough job cataloging the important events and happenings of Jerusalem but for much of the book I felt like I was reading one long Wikipedia article.

Jerusalem by Simon Sebag Montefiore | Books

The writing, for most of the book, was very dry and had a very simple structure of A happened then B happened then C happened. It was not terribly engaging and I didn't feel as though Montefiore provided much added value to the narrative of events. This did diminish as the narrative approached contemporary times and my guess is there just wasn't a ton of sources for a lot of Jerusalem's early history for Montefiore to draw upon.

But lackluster writing aside the story of Jerusalem is fascinating. It has been destroyed and rebuilt a number of times. It has fluctuated in importance over the course of its existence. Sometimes having massive amounts of wealth poured into it to beautify it, sometimes ignored as an inconsequential town. Its population has likewise fluctuated significantly over the period from a bustling metropolis to a ghost town. While I consider myself an appreciator of history there was much that I was surprised to learn such as: It was as though Christian Bale's amazing power of losing and gaining weight for movie roles was manifested as a city.

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This was interpreted as a hostile move by the Ethiopians, and eleven were hospitalized after the resulting fracas. And compared to historic HS "fracases" detailed in the book this fracas was a relatively timid affair. Sort of the wild west in the middle east.

Montefiore quotes a bunch of people's experiences there as being completely turned off or disgusted by the state the city and holy places are in.

Having visited this ancient city twice I have a very difficult time reconciling that version of Jerusalem withe modern, holy, and religious city it is now.

And those were just some of the many nuggets of history I uncovered with this book. This book does not lack for historical insights, I just wish the writing was up to the monumental task of telling this complex and unique story of humanity and the divine. Jan 20, WarpDrive rated it really liked it. A very detailed, in-depth history of one of the most complex, troubled, emotionally and religiously intense cities of the world, the ideological center of all three Abrahamic religions.

An emotionally exhausting tour, spanning across millennia of war, pilgrimage, cooperation and coexistence, fanaticism, corruption, mysticism and enlightenment. The history of Jerusalem is the history of the World, it has been stated, and I definitely see some merit in this statement.

The weight of history feels o A very detailed, in-depth history of one of the most complex, troubled, emotionally and religiously intense cities of the world, the ideological center of all three Abrahamic religions. The weight of history feels overwhelming here, it really is a very special place. It is also the city where these religions and people are forced to live very close together, and as such it is a litmus test for the maturity of human kind - a test that currently, considering the political situation in the Middle East, is far from delivering flattering results.

The author provides a well-researched, balanced history of this ancient city, providing an amazingly detailed overview of Jerusalem: The book is well written, but I think that some of the author's selection choices are a bit questionable: I think the author, who is certainly passionate about Jerusalem and its history, tried hard to keep the reader's interest alive, but in doing so he create something that occasionally feels disjoint and uneven.

I must admit though that for me reading this book has been at times an enlightening and occasionally even an exhilarating experience. I have learned a lot about what Jerusalem is about, and the deep emotional, cultural, political and religious links that tie this unique city to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian traditions.

It is inseparable part of the DNA of all three religions, and only solutions that take into account this historical truth can be viable in the longer term. Jerusalem is a treasure of the world. I personally learned a lot by reading this book: I already knew about the deep links between Christianity, the Muslim religion and Jerusalem, but only by reading this book I came to the full appreciation of the very profound links between Jerusalem and the Jewish culture, identity and tradition.

I think that now I have a more complete perspective of things. And, while I knew that the history of Jerusalem and of the overlapping networks of conflicting claims to this city were something complex and difficult to accommodate, I did not know that it was so maddeningly complex.

I also learned about the important relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and Jerusalem, and the important part played by the Russian Jewish immigrants. And, most importantly, I also learned that there were periods when the three different religions happily coexisted together. I wish we could learn from these enlightened periods, rather than using history as a means to justify exclusivity and extremism.

View all 5 comments. In order to make the paperback a manageable and readable size, the author and publishers have decided not to include the notes in the paperback. We hope readers will agree that, for most, the balance of convenience is best served by this policy. View all 3 comments. To try and tackle the history of one of the most famous cities in the world, in one book, is not the easiest of writing challenges, but Montefiore has had a pretty good go at it.

He has tried to cover from the very earliest references to relatively recent events, and this has made this a very substantial book indeed. I won't try and surmise all plus pages into a couple of paragraphs would be nigh on impossible, but suffice to say Montefiore has filled these pages with immense amounts of deta To try and tackle the history of one of the most famous cities in the world, in one book, is not the easiest of writing challenges, but Montefiore has had a pretty good go at it.

I won't try and surmise all plus pages into a couple of paragraphs would be nigh on impossible, but suffice to say Montefiore has filled these pages with immense amounts of detail and history of the lives of the people that have occupied this city. It has played a significant role in many world events and is considered one of the holiest places by the three abrahamic religions.

He sets the context for each of the eras and highlight the movers and shakers of that time. All good stuff, or so you would think. But this amount of detail makes this so difficult to read at times, along with literally a cast of thousands over the millennia, it did feel like I was wading through it at times. Jerusalem has been the place where much blood has been shed, and there is almost too much detail with regards to this.

My other big bugbear with it was footnotes. These should be a small piece of information that adds to the main body of text, but some of these were huge. A foot note that long should be in the main body, but if that were the case then it would have been more unreadable.

The author does add in some personal opinions too, not the done this for a history book, which should be impartial and non judgemental. That said is a book I'm glad I have now read, and I feel a sense of achievement having done so, but I will be unlikely to pick it up again. Nov 03, Carlos rated it really liked it. This book was massive in it's scope and reach, the best sentence to summarize it and get a sense of The amount of work and the nuances that went into this book comes from the book itself "Jerusalem's history is a chronicle of settlers, colonists and pilgrims, who have included Arabs, Jews and many others, in a place that has grown and contracted many times.

It is a great work of study , but you will define get information overload and in a case as complex as Jerusalem even more so. Definitely recommend it , but remember this is a study of very different multitude of cultures, peoples and nationalities , so don't expect this to be an easy book. Nov 24, Bou rated it liked it Shelves: If there's one city that needs a biography, it must be Jerusalem. In a highly readable style, Simon Sebag Montefiore takes us on a tour from the earliest recorded history to today's Jerusalem.

The history of Jerusalem is a chronicle of colonists and pilgrims, whether they are Arab, Jew or Christians. The city itself witnessed a large amount of different masters, each with their own beliefs and each thinking they were the true and only religions. Nowhere in the world did so many people die on acco If there's one city that needs a biography, it must be Jerusalem.

Nowhere in the world did so many people die on account of their beliefs and religion, and yet they kept coming to this Holy City. Nowadays, both the Arabs and the Jews have historical claims to the city.

According to the author, Jerusalem is on the crossroads on becoming a religious nationalistic state or the road to a liberal Western city. I really hope it's the last one, there have enough people died already whose sacrifices all have been in vain. Jan 20, Nick Van der Graaf rated it it was amazing. Montefiore does an excellent job of stringing it all together, weaving a tale of considerable complexity into som Jerusalem: Montefiore does an excellent job of stringing it all together, weaving a tale of considerable complexity into something eminently enlightening.

My Knopf hardcover edition is a weighty pages, not including notes, maps, etc. There is so much material that it at times feels a bit rushed — many of the episodes and character sketches and oh what characters! This epic history could easily have been expanded into two volumes.

I suspect the editing process must have been a particularly difficult experience for Montefiore and his editors, no doubt having to leave out so many historical jewels. Jerusalem came into its own with the rise of the Israelite kingdom which flourished in the power vacuum heralded by the advent of the Iron Age, c.

The Bible is a less-than-reliable history of the region, but in recent decades intriguing bits of evidence dug up by archaeologists have indeed confirmed the historicity of David. The Babylonian Exile of the Jewish elite lead to the first real compilation of the books of the Bible, but the trauma of the Exile also sharpened their faith into fanaticism.

The Emperor Hadrian eventually rebuilt it as a small classical Roman town named Aelia Capitolina, and despite occasional Jewish rebellions it remained so until the Christian era. Thus the city became a place of Christian pilgrimage. With the exception of the brief and bloody rule of the Crusader kingdoms, thereafter the city was ruled by Islamic authorities of one stripe or another until the British conquest during the First World War campaign against the Ottoman Empire.

The rise of evangelical movements in America and Britain, and the growth of the early Zionist movement among the Jews of the West and the Russian Empire fostered a growing number of pilgrims who were apparently often disappointed by the dusty backwater where local entrepreneurs including numerous brothels and Ottoman officials did their best to extract every last penny from the visitors. The pilgrims themselves were regarded by the locals as creepy and disreputable.

In the 19th century official support for Zionism led to large numbers of Jews from the West emigrating to Jerusalem and its environs. Many more came fleeing Russian pogroms. Just a few years after British General Allenby walked through the Jaffa Gate in late , Jews had again become the majority group in Jerusalem and Christian and Muslim Palestinians were thoroughly alarmed by their loss of land and power. During the British mandate inter-communal riots became frequent.

Jerusalem: The Biography

Anti-Semitism, already assuming deadly proportions in Western Europe, infected Arab resistance. The aftermath of WWII led to massive Jewish immigration and amidst the chaotic British withdrawal and the establishment of the State of Israel, Jews and Arabs committed atrocities against the other.

People tire of war and hateful propaganda. Militants often mellow and have to admit their absolutist aims are simply impractical.

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Aug 05, Grumpus rated it really liked it Shelves: Two distinct ideas came to mind as I listened to this one. Commentary 1 - If you like John Lee as a narrator, this book is possibly for you. I had known of the Crusades and assumed there were military battles but never imagined the sickening degree of violence. Yeah, you! You know who you are. You, who invoke my name. This disgusting, vile, abhorrent behavior has gone on for over 2, years and must stop. Did you lose or misunderstand the tablets I sent down regarding your expected behavior?

I have granted you dominion over all my creations and in return I ask you to follow 10 simple rules. Is that really too much to ask? As your Father, I try to be understanding and patient. And, like a father, I am sometimes forced to discipline. Sodom and Gomorrah? The plagues of Egypt? How soon children forget. But, be forewarned! Learn to play nice with the other children and stop justifying your actions in my name. I am a God of peace and love. Shalom Aleychem. Aug 26, Pink rated it did not like it.

Review to follow A month later I still don't have the energy to write a full review for this book.

There are some good points: The bad points: There are other good reviews of this book out there. Some praising it, some finding the same faults as me.

I appreciate the sheer amount of work that Simon Sebag Montefiore put into the book, but I had too many problems with it and ended up not finishing the book. I can only rate it 1 star - did not like it. View all 4 comments. Jan 20, Jonny rated it really liked it Shelves: A striking history of a city from it's inception in prehistory, through its trials and tribulations, colonists, pilgrims and invaders up to its current precarious position.

It's mainly the story of the main players calling Jerusalem their home, or having a major role to play in the story, and as such there is a whistle stop feel to the book 11th Century? Oh, Crusades Given the scope of the book it's not biased against any group, and even the minefield of the first century AD avoids any issues I thought.

And it's a very breezy and easy read. With a few surprises. And the bad And I didn't really ever get a feel for Jerusalem the place.

But I'm sure there's worse out there. And I did get a feel for the roots of the current problems I think. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Read by John Lee Tel Dan Stele Titus has just plundered then razed the city, a bit like the young one playing soldiers on the kitchen table: Anthony Hopkins Wiki sourced: It was constructed in c.

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The best I Read by John Lee Tel Dan Stele Titus has just plundered then razed the city, a bit like the young one playing soldiers on the kitchen table: The best I have read on the city and will be retaining this file for a re-read in my rocking-chair years.

View all 8 comments. Sep 13, Hadrian rated it really liked it Shelves: Another impressive work by Mr. Montefiore, detailed the extremely long and vivid history of one of the world's most famous cities into a very readable and flowing history, from King David, to David Ben-Gurion, and beyond.

Jul 12, Murtaza rated it liked it. The narrative is relatively readable, but for such a high-profile work I was actually surprised at the occasional sloppiness with well known facts and even the number of editing errors that it contained. Trying to pack whole life stories into a page and a half is never easy and gets rather tiresome for the reader after about pages.

Having said that, there are a number of gems that the book contains and as a whole it provides enjoyable depth for those who love the city. The author tells the story of the great families of Jerusalem, much of which he seems to have gotten from primary sources and which is definitely unknown to most people.

I was interested that Jews were allowed to pray on the Temple Mount in the first decades after the Islamic conquest, and also that Charlemagne paid the jizya tax of the city's Christians during his time. Also the footnotes about Samuel ibn Nagrela, a Jewish commander of Islamic armies, and the battles between the Abbasids and the Chinese Tang Dynasty were also fascinating. Because of some other obvious errors though including mischaracterizing or at least very poorly explaining the death of Hazrat Ali I was not always sure of the exact veracity of everything I read.

Worth reading for those very interested in Jerusalem and the three monotheistic faiths, but maybe not for everyone. A very interesting read which encompasses pretty much the entire historical scope of this unique city.

The main downside was pretty much due to that. Montefiore tried to write little about lots of events, even those who are not that important when looking on Jerusalem's broader history.

It would have been better to write only about the major events and times. Apr 17, Lorna rated it it was amazing Shelves: The Biography is a sweeping and meticulously researched biography and history of Jerusalem from the early biblical times of King David, Moses and the Canaanites, including the history and significance of Jerusalem to Judaism and Christianity as well as the Muslims over the expanse of history and time through the administration of President Barack Obama.

This is an engrossing and all-encompassing narrative of the sweeping and volatile history of Jerusalem including the genesis and imp Jerusalem: This is an engrossing and all-encompassing narrative of the sweeping and volatile history of Jerusalem including the genesis and importance of Jerusalem to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It shimmers like a mystical palace rising out of the airy and serene space of the esplanade which immediately became an enormous open-air mosque, sanctifying the space around it.

This book was an ambitious undertaking. Montefiore, in the end, does an OK job. The book is really slow to start off and there seemed to be a lot of holes in his storytelling.

There are gaps in the history and, at times, his writing comes across as awkward. In this portion of the book, he is essentially telling a history of war in Jerusalem, which is certainly important, but not the whole story for sure. I would have loved to h This book was an ambitious undertaking. I would have loved to have heard more about the geography, architecture, technology available, sitz im leben, etc.

As the story and history itself moves on, Montefiore seems to get into it more and his expertise in modern history comes out. Those other aspects begin to appear and the story itself becomes more detailed. Some pluses about this book are that he ties together a load of archaeological information in one volume, he does a good job of offering a fair account of the deeds and misdeeds of all three major religions over the years, and he has a unique and personal perspective to offer concerning this sacred city particularly in the epilogue.

Sadly, a lot of the archaeological data is found in the footnotes. I think he would have been well-served to integrate this information into his narrative.

Also, while he is a popular historian by trade, I would have rather just read his personal reflections on this history than an "objective" account because of his unique relationship to the city.

Three other niggles I have about this book are 1 his use of the King James Version for biblical quotes while he uses more contemporary English to translate all other primary sources 2 his misunderstanding or lack of engagement I can't tell by reading which is the case with the hermeneutics of ancient texts and genres, particularly biblical apocalyptic 3 he also spends a lot of ink diverging his history to talk about other places than Jerusalem.

I understand that context is important, but he often spends paragraphs providing context that could be summed up in a few sentences. Although it is neat to have all of this information in a single monograph, there are surely better narratives and more accurate histories. My suggestion is to look to those sources first and then read the epilogue of this book.

View 1 comment. Jan 10, Gary rated it it was amazing. Simon Sebag-Montefiore's acclaimed and bestselling history of Jerusalem is an intriguing read, full of interesting lesser known facts, personages and new angles. At times, it reads almost like a well-paced novel, and is as hard to put down. Certainly, it provides a timely, as well as carefully balanced, account of this extraordinary city's long history, from the earliest times to the present day.

The prologue of this heavy volume begins with the destruction of the Second Temple and genocide of Je Simon Sebag-Montefiore's acclaimed and bestselling history of Jerusalem is an intriguing read, full of interesting lesser known facts, personages and new angles. The prologue of this heavy volume begins with the destruction of the Second Temple and genocide of Jerusalem's Jewish population by the Roman legions commanded by Titus.

The first chapter proceeds with the period of Jerusalem's beginnings The father of the Israelite nation, Abraham who travelled to Canaan was greet by Melchizedek the priest-king of Salem in the name of El-Elyon the Most high God. This was the city's first mention in the Bible, suggesting Jerusalem was already a Canaanite shrine, ruled by priest-kings. He continues with the capture of the town by King David of Israel who made the city great and made it is capital.

Continuing through the saga of the city and of the Land of Israel. The glorious reign of King Solomon was followed by the disastrous division of his kingdom into the realms of Judah and Israel and the two destruction of the two kingdoms-most catastrophically the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the exile of the Jews to Babylon. Following on the growth of the Samaritans and the return of the Jews to their homeland at the behest of Persian Emperor Cyrus.

An incorrect bit is his referral to the ancient Land of Israel as Palestine , when speaking Irael in Biblical times The term "Palestine" came from the name that the conquering Roman Empire gave the ancient Land of Israel in an attempt to obliterate and de-legitimize the Jewish presence in the Holy Land.

The name "Palestine" was invented in the year C. Before it was known as Judea, which was the southern kingdom of ancient Israel. The Roman Procurator in charge of the Judean-Israel territories was so angry at the Jews for revolting that he called for his historians and asked them who were the worst enemies of the Jews in their past history.

The scribes said, "the Philistines. Hence the name "Palestine. The author has a controversial and interesting view of Jesus and the origins in Israel of Christianity. Then again Montefiore takes us the to Jewish Wars, the destruction by Titus of Jerusalem and exile of Jews from that city.

Hadrian not only enforced the ban on circumcision but banned the Jews from even approaching Aelia on pain of death.

Jerusalem had vanished. Hadrian wiped Judea off the map, deliberately naming it Palestina after Jews ancient enemies, the Philistines" Interesting episodes in this digest include the brief return of Jerusalem to the Jews in by Persian Emperor Shabaraz, known as the Royal Boar who two years later expelled the Jews and restored Christian rule.

In the section of the book on Mohammed it is interesting to note that in persecuting the Jews for refusing to adopt Islam, after expelling the Jews from Medina, executing the men and enslaving the women and children, then changed the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca. And one cannot therefore in all fairness affirm Jerusalem as being as central to Islam as it is to Judaism.

This relates the quibbles I have with Montefiore about this book. Montefiore espouses the thesis that Jerusalem belongs equally to Jews, Christians and Muslims. However it is self-evident in the history covered here that Mohammed rejected Jerusalem and made Mecca the Islamic centre. Jerusalem was later conquered by invading Arabs and absorbed into their empire. In the section on the Mamluks there is a discussion on the great Torah scholar Rabbi Moses ben Nachmann known as Nachmanides or the Ramban.

Ramban believed that the Jews should not merely mourn Jerusalem, but return, settle and rebuild before the coming of the Messiah.

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In other words the Ramban was a pioneer of religious Zionism. Zionism is a movement that has existed ad developed since the Romans exiled the Jews from Jerusalem. The reader can discover more in this volume about the Islamic persecution of Jews in Jerusalem and the Levant. It is a myth and pro-Islamic propaganda that that the Jews were well treated in this land during Islamic rule.

Jerusalem: The Biography pdf, epub, mobi

In this period Jews in Jerusalem were prohibited from wearing white on their Sabbath or Muslim headgear or to wear nails in their shoes. Christian lived under similar ordinances. Both had to make way for Muslims in the streets. Oppressive fees were enforced with cruel violence. As a special humiliation, every Jew and Christian had to deliver a dead dog to a collection point outside the Zion Gate.

Gangs of children killed dogs and then gave their carcasses to the nearest infidel". The Jews were extorted and robbed and many left the city for this reason.

It was reconstructed in the 19th century but destroyed by the Jordanians in ". In the 19th century the plight of the Jews under Ottoman rule was made worse. In April Karl Marx wrote in the New York Daily Tribune after a visit to Jerusalem "None equals the misery and suffering of the Jews of Jerusalem, inhabiting the most filthy quarter constant objects of Musulman oppression and intolerance, insulted by the Greeks, persecuted by the Latins". The British vice-consul James Finn reported that a Jew who walked past the gate leading to the Holy Sepulchre was beaten because it was illegal for a Jew to pass it.

Another was stabbed by an Ottoman soldier and Finn reported that a Jewish funeral was attacked by Arabs. The idea of Jews in the Middle East being sovereign in an independent state, and not subjugated to Muslim rule and humiliated under Dhimni status is what was intolerable to the Arabs and the roots of the violent Arab rejection of the state of Israel, and before that of migration of Jews into the Land of Israel.

This was anathema to the demand for Arab supremacy and dhimnitude. With the coming of the Zionist movement Arabs were enraged by the prospect of having to live with the Jews as equals after centuries of being masters of the Jews. This is one of the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict which continues to this day. The first real challenge in centuries to Muslim dominance was carried out by General Napoleon Bonaparte who entered Palestine in from Egypt, conquered Jaffa and laid siege to Acre.

At Ramle, 25 miles from Jerusalem on 20 April Napoleon issued a call for the restoration of Jewish rule in their ancient homeland, the Jews being the rightful heirs in the Holy Land. Interesting chapters on the restoration of Zionism in the 19th century, when there was already a considerable Jewish presence in the Land of Israel, and a Jewish majority in Jerusalem from Fascinating chapters on the British mandate period and the pogroms carried out by Arabs against Jews in Jerusalem, under the instigation of Amin el Husseini in and As well as the Nazi backed Arab Revolt.

In the mufti called the German consul in Jerusalem to state his support for Nazism and wish to co-operate. The Epilogue discusses the conflict until today and the author's views on it. While Montefiore saliently points out "It is often forgotten that all the suburbs outside the Jerusalem walls were new settlements built between and , by Arabs as well as Jews and Europeans. The Arab areas such as Sheik Jarrah are no older than the Jewish ones and no more or less legitimate".

Given this point I cannot understand why he should then oppose the growth of Jewish communities in East Jerusalem and Judea after as an 'obstacle to peace' I cannot agree that is illegitimate for Jews to build anywhere in the City of David or Judea.

But the author seems to aim in some of his conclusions to please everybody. He however pertinently points out the absurdity of the claims by the PLO, Palestinian Authority and Hamas et al that the Jewish Temple never exited in Jerusalem easily disproved by architecture and recorded history. The denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and Israel should be regarded as equally offensive to the Jewish people as Holocaust denial and no less dangerous. So should the diabolical claim that the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland is somehow an act of 'colonialism'.

Dec 30, Kiersten rated it really liked it. This book was intense. It was an incredible overview of the history of Jerusalem, beginning with King David and wrapping up with Zionism in the 20th Century. It is a long book, coming in at pages, after the bibliography and notes, but I actually wish it had been longer, or a set of several volumes. There is so much history here, and the thought of all the research that Montefiore must have put into writing this makes me exhausted, but I felt like I was barely skimming the surface.

One e Wow. One example, in telling the story of Baldwin IV, the Frankish leper-king of Jerusalem in the 12th century, Montefiore mentions that "Baldwin was ambushed, his horse bolted and he escaped thanks only to the courage of the old Constable of the Kingdom who gave his life to save the boy" p.

Who was this old Constable this is the first time that either the man or the title is mentioned , and how did he save Baldwin? I'm sure there is a great story there, but just not enough time to tell it.

And there were so many fascinating characters that were, of necessity, just skimmed over--Theodora, showgirl-turned-empress? I would love to read an entire book about her and I will as soon as I can find a good one. My biggest problem with the book: I feel like Montefiore tried to cut down on his character count by leaving out punctuation.

Or something. Seriously, there must be some explanation for it, because there were so many run-on sentences that I could hardly keep the story straight. Here's an example I just opened up to a page, and this is what I found: Amr suggested solving this problem by passing off Khaled as the Commander but he was recognized so Omar was summoned from Mecca" p. Just reading that sentence makes me light-headed. There are about 18 thousand commas and several dozen periods missing.

Is this just a British thing I've heard that they do punctuation differently , or is it a serious failure in editing? I hope it's the latter. It makes my head spin to think that there is an entire nation out there running around and serially leaving out commas. Overall, I thought that this book was an amazingly researched overview of Jerusalem: Everyone, even those who know very little about Jerusalem, has an opinion about it; I'm sure that someone who has researched as much as Montefiore have several.

However, I felt that he did a good job of reining in those personal opinions and hiding his biases. Each "dynasty" had its heroes and its villains there were a lot of villains--this book is not for the faint of heart or the gore-averse , and each character, at least those studied in any depth, was multi-faceted.

Unfortunately, I don't have plans to travel to the Middle East any time soon, but as soon as I do, this will be at the top of my list of books to [re]read. Aug 17, Gavin rated it really liked it Shelves: The Biography', as the name would suggest, is an in-depth biographical-history of the 'Holy City of Jerusalem'. It addresses a wide range of themes, other than just pure chronological-historical narrative.

Namely, religion encompassing the rise of faiths, and their battle for the city , politics, trade, population booms and declines etc In other words, it examines all the facets required to get a picture of the city at any given time in its long history and it does this with rema 'Jerusalem: In other words, it examines all the facets required to get a picture of the city at any given time in its long history and it does this with remarkable clarity.

The narrative runs from the city's foundation which is more speculative due to the lack of surviving sources, and continues right through to the foundation of the modern Israeli State putting particular emphasis on the currently volatile situation in the area of Palestine and the Levantine Coast. The book was a really impressive and objective history of a city that is in the habit of causing controversy. This is primarily due to the turbulence of its history, and the hetrogenous and cosmopolitan make-up of its citizenry, past and present.

This is the first book I have read by this particular author. I had up to this point associated this particular author with purely modern historiography, which has never really appealed to me. So, I was pleasantly surprised by the pure scope of research that went into the chapters of the book that cover the earlier periods of Jerusalem's history.

As a result, no particular period is shown favour at the expense of the other by the author over the course of the narrative; at least, in terms of coverage accorded to each individual period. Sebag Montefiore's style of writing is what I would characterize as elegant but at the same time accessible.

This book is a must read for those looking for a broad overview of the city's history. In addition, due to its layout, this book can be consulted regarding specific periods in Jerusalem's history. This is not a book that has to be read from cover to cover, on the contrary, it can be dipped in and out of at one's leisure.

Anyway, hope this helps anyone considering picking up the book. Happy Reading, Gavin Dec 29, Femj86 rated it really liked it. Overall a good read. History is always partial and I expected the author to be biased towards Jews, as a book written by a Muslim or a Christian writer on such a sensitive topic would be equally susceptible to bias in favor of their own communities.

Was this book biased? Not flagrantly so. It may have been, but it was done so subtly that I couldn't really tell. A reader better acquainted with the history of Judaism, Islam and Christianity can perhaps identify better. Regardless, the story itself Overall a good read. Regardless, the story itself was so absorbing and the wealth of information imparted so interesting that any suspicious comments here and there could be easily discounted.

I think, the writer very wisely ended the book with Israel's victory in the Six-day War of Beyond that point it would have become difficult not to sound inclined towards one side or the other. Indeed his portrayals of Ben Gurion, Menachim Begin and other Jewish leaders were way too sympathetic; even their many reprehensible acts of violence and their infringement of the rights of the Arab population somehow appeared heroic in their struggle for the cause of Israel.

So it is well that the writer finished where he did. To conclude, the book is wonderful as far as the history of Jerusalem is concerned. Very comprehensive, very engaging and very well written.

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