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Jerusalem: The Biography (edition 2012)

by Simon Sebag Montefiore

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6962213,692 (3.9)44
Member:LynnB
Title:Jerusalem: The Biography
Authors:Simon Sebag Montefiore
Info:Vintage (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 704 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Non-fiction, Rideau Club, 2012

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Jerusalem by Simon Sebag Montefiore

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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Interesting read, but SSM might have been a bit less credulous about some of the many lies told by contributors to Jerusalem's history (Suetonius, Josephus, TE Lawrence, etc etc ...) ( )
  sloopjonb | May 24, 2014 |
Calling temporary quits on this one. I managed to get through all of the Judaism and Paganism sections (the first two). What I have read is very interesting; it was especially fascinating to read about people I know of only through Biblical references (not even the Bible itself, the cultural references based on it) and discover their historical context. I will perhaps return to this book later, when I stop bogging myself down in several large books simultaneously. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Mar 12, 2014 |
wishlist
  cavlibrary | Jan 28, 2014 |
A good history of the eternal city of Jerusalem. Often sad and brutal as Jerusalem seems to bring out the best and worst in people. Covers and enormous time frame from the beginnings to Modern day. ( )
  charlie68 | Jun 30, 2013 |

At times a surprisingly violent read that I brought on the spur of the moment, mostly on the strength of my love of another of the author's works: Stalin, court of the Red Tsar. Much to my surprise I have to say I don't regret this for one moment.

I was dimly aware of the importance of the city in world history but only once it was all laid out in this tomb of a book did I realize just how it really has in many ways truly been the centre of the world. Many names from pre history you may have only heard of casually will be happily fleshed out, very often ending with a bloody battle and/or the odd outbreak of compromise and good sense. Sadly not quite enough of the later.

Fun fact for British readers: A man called 'Thomas Cook' acted as a travel agent in 1869 taking a party pilgrims to the holy land, creating modern tourism and the package holiday. ( )
  Hubster | May 12, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
This is not an account of daily life or humble devotions. It’s a little like learning about the American West by watching a John Wayne movie: everyone is a gunslinger or a sheriff, with nameless extras diving under the bar when trouble starts. Still, for a book that spans 3,000 years, it does a remarkably inclusive job.
added by LiteraryFiction | editNew York Times, Jonathan Rosen (pay site) (Oct 28, 2011)
 
Montefiore's narrative is remarkably objective when considering his own family's close links with Jewish Jerusalem. One might quibble with certain details, but overall it is a reliable and compelling account, with many interesting points.
 
Nonetheless, this is compendious and fleet-footed history of a city where the glorification of God has always been built on bloodied soil.
 
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To my darling daughter

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(Preface) The history of Jerusalem is the history of the world, but it is also the chronicle of an often penurious provincial town amid the Judean hills.
(Prologue) On the 8th of the Jewish month of Ab, in late July AD 70, Titus, the Roman Emperor Vespasian's son who was in command of the four-month siege of Jerusalem, ordered his entire army to prepare to storm the Temple at dawn.
When David captured the citadel of Zion, Jerusalem was already ancient.
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Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgment 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. - Publisher.… (more)

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