Jerusalem: Book summary and reviews of Jerusalem by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Jerusalem

The Biography

by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Jerusalem

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Montefiore delivers Jerusalem's unfolding story as epic panorama and nuanced documentary history, suitable for general and scholarly audiences." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. An essential text, bathed in blood, lit with faint hope." - Kirkus

"A heavenly city Jerusalem may be; but it is also a relentlessly terrestrial one. The achievement of this marvelous book is to fuse them into one biography." - The Telegraph (UK)

"A fittingly vast and dazzling portrait of Jerusalem, utterly compelling from start to finish." - The Sunday Times (U.K.)

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Author Information

Simon Sebag Montefiore Author Biography

Photo © Hugo Burnand

Simon Sebag Montefiore was born in 1965 and read history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, where he received his Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD). Catherine the Great and Potemkin was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson, Duff Cooper, and Marsh Biography Prizes. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar won the History Book of the Year Prize at the British Book Awards. Young Stalin won the Costa Biography Award (UK), the LA Times Book Prize for Biography (US), Le Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique (France) and the Kreisky Prize for Political Literature (Austria). Jerusalem: The Biography won the Jewish Book of the Year Prize, from the Jewish Book Council (USA). Dr Montefiore's books are published in forty languages. He is also the author of the novel, Sashenka. His new novel, One ...

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