Jerusalem by Simon Sebag Montefiore
The Biography

81%

10 Critic Reviews

Montefiore could have certainly written a different kind of book...a book that could hide the violence, but in choosing to drag the reader through the fields of corpses he is making a point—the violence needs to stop because it is senseless.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

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.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Simon Sebag Montefiore

See more books from this 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.
 
Published October 25, 2011 by Vintage. 688 pages
Genres: History, Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Critic reviews for Jerusalem
All: 10 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Sep 15 2011

An essential text, bathed in blood, lit with faint hope.

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Blog Critics

Good
on Sep 27 2012

Montefiore could have certainly written a different kind of book...a book that could hide the violence, but in choosing to drag the reader through the fields of corpses he is making a point—the violence needs to stop because it is senseless.

Read Full Review of Jerusalem: The Biography | See more reviews from Blog Critics

WSJ online

Excellent
on Oct 22 2011

This magnificent, troubling biography presents Jerusalem to its fourth millennium in a vivid amalgam of love and darkness, denying neither one nor the other.

Read Full Review of Jerusalem: The Biography | See more reviews from WSJ online

Financial Times

Good
on Feb 04 2011

The long memories of bloodshed and lost birthrights, punctuated and primed by rival religiosities, are crucial ingredients of a saga that reveals the consequences of faith made tangible in the physical locale of holiness.

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Washington Times

Above average
on Nov 25 2011

Overall, “Jerusalem: The Biography” tells a story of wonder and great emotion.

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The Economist

Good
on Mar 17 2011

He adds richness by including sources not usually available in English.

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LA Times

Good
on Dec 11 2011

Simon Sebag Montefiore's epic survey of Jerusalem's sanguinary history does not inspire confidence in the civilizing qualities of religion.

Read Full Review of Jerusalem: The Biography | See more reviews from LA Times

Christian Science Monitor

Above average
on Dec 15 2011

Montefiore’s biography ends abruptly following the Yom Kippur War, after which the author has honored his promise to remain politically neutral.

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Dallas News

Excellent
on Dec 02 2011

A hugely ambitious effort, clearly produced with real love for the city and its people, Montefiore’s Jerusalem should be read by everyone and anyone who would dare to venture an opinion on the city, or its future.

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The Daily Beast

Above average
on Oct 17 2011

...this book is a reminder that better stewardship might have put the two sides on a different path altogether.

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