Part travelogue, part pilgrimage, part walking journal, part political activism - this is the record of a six-month walk from London to Jerusalem.
'What's so impressive about Justin Butcher's book is the interweaving of his personal face-to-face experiences in Israel and Palestine against the backdrop of the social and political realities there. This book displays an empathy that is unusual in discussions of that tangled and tragic situation - the kind of empathy that will be essential in arriving at any decent solution to it.' BRIAN ENO
2017 marked three important anniversaries for the Palestinian people: 100 years since the Balfour Declaration; 50 years since the Six-day War; and ten years since the Blockade of Gaza. As an act of penance, solidarity and hope, actor and musician Justin Butcher - along with ten other companions for the full route, plus another hundred joining him for various stretches along the way - walked from London to Jerusalem.
This book is the record of his journey: a combination of walking journal, travel writing and pilgrim stories. It's less of a travel guide to walking across Europe and more an exploration of the many strands radiating from the Holy Land and its narrative, weaving paths across place and history, through the lives of Justin's fellow-walkers - and, of course, his own life.
Between the route itinerary and the themes of Balfour and Christian Zionism, Weizmann and cordite, colonialism, Jerusalem Syndrome and Desert spirituality, Justin charts a chronicle of serendipity: happenstances hilarious, infuriating and occasionally numinous - or, as pilgrims might say, encounters with the Divine.
'This is a gripping and intelligent book that everybody should read.' PATRICK COCKBURN, Middle East correspondent, The Independent
This is an incredibly moving and fascinating book. Read it to learn what really goes on in the Holy Land but also for a personal and powerful pilgrim's tale of walking thousands of miles with love, humour and solidarity. - ROSALIND NASHASHIBI 2017 Turner Prize nominee, Electrical Gaza and Vivian s Garden
Justin Butcher's crisp and vibrant writing style grabs the reader's hand and leads us on a fascinating and thoughtful tour through history into the heart of the politics of contemporary Palestine.
- JEREMY HARDY, Comedian The News Quiz, I m Sorry I Haven t A Clue, Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation
The world badly needs people like Justin Butcher. Seeking the peace not found in a cemetery but in restored justice, he and his companions make a journey together. The slowness of their travel accelerates their insight and their passion. Soul and solidarity become inseparable. Their story, and that of the Palestinians they walk alongside, is recounted with faith, fun and frustration. To read it is to be reminded that what is right is always found on the other side of fear. - MARK OAKLEY, Dean of St John s College, Cambridge Author of The Collage of God and The Splash of Words
Justin Butcher read Classics Greats at Oxford, trained subsequently at Drama Studio London, and has worked all over the world as actor, writer, director and musician in a vast range of roles and productions in theatre, television, radio and film. He has worked extensively as creative consultant in the business, government and voluntary sectors, across the UK and Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa.