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Jerusalem: The Biography

Simon Sebag Montefiore

5 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, Asian history, Middle Eastern history

The epic story of Jerusalem told through the lives of the men and women who created, ruled and inhabited it.

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 3,000 years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism and coexistence.

How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the 'centre 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.

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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Praise for Jerusalem: The Biography

  • Dazzling...utterly compelling from start to finish. - Sunday Times

  • Astoundingly ambitious and triumphantly epic history... His achievement, in fashioning a fluent narrative out of such daunting material can hardly be praised enough. - Daily Telegraph

  • Outstanding, superbly objective, elegantly written and highly entertaining. - Mail on Sunday

  • Montefiore has a great novelist's eye for detail, a great journalist's nose for human frailty, and a great historian's touch...judicious, nuanced, balanced and sensitive...when a history is written this way one can never have too much. - The Times

  • Masterly, vastly entertaining and timely...a compelling narrative and an important book. - Evening Standard

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Simon Sebag Montefiore

Simon Sebag Montefiore is the internationally bestselling author of a number of prize-winning books that have been published in forty-eight languages. CATHERINE THE GREAT & POTEMKIN was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize; STALIN: THE COURT OF THE RED TSAR won the BBA History Book of the Year Prize; YOUNG STALIN won the Costa Biography Award, the LA Times Book Prize for Biography and the Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique; JERUSALEM: THE BIOGRAPHY won the JBC Book of the Year Prize and the Wenjin Book Prize in China; THE ROMANOVS: 1613-1918 won the Lupicaia del Terriccio Book Prize. He is the author of the Moscow Trilogy of novels: SASHENKA, RED SKY AT NOON and ONE NIGHT IN WINTER, which won the Political Fiction Book of the Year Award. He is also the author of WRITTEN IN HISTORY: LETTERS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD and the forthcoming VOICES OF HISTORY: SPEECHES THAT CHANGED THE WORLD.

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