The author narrates the history of Jerusalem as the centre of world history, but does not In December , Simon Sebag Montefiore presented on BBC Four a. “Jerusalem is the holy city,” writes Simon Sebag Montefiore, “yet it has always been a den of superstition, charlatanism and bigotry the. Simon Sebag Montefiore’s history of Jerusalem is a labour of love and scholarship. It is a considerable achievement to have created a sense of.

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Preview — Jerusalem by Simon Sebag Montefiore. 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, years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism and coexistence. In a dazzling narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals this ever-changing city in its many incarnations, bringing every epoch and character blazingly to life.

This is how Jerusalem became Jerusalem, and the only city that exists twice — in heaven and on earth. Hardcoverpages. To see what your friends eimon of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Jerusalemplease sign up. Terry Very entertaining writer but well documented references. Montefiore seems to be one of those gifted writers who teaches you history with his story …more Very entertaining writer but well documented references.

Montefiore seems to be one of those gifted writers who teaches you history with his story telling. See 1 question about Jerusalem…. Lists with This Book. This ibography one of those non-fiction books that you read as fiction And this is one of those books that I’m most proud of being its editor It simo us two years to complete it I don’t know anymore how many times I’ve reread it, worrying about every detail with my team Beautiful book about biography of Jerusalem, for those who love history And they don’t have to be scholars to enjoy this book I can call myself the Serbian montefiote of Montefiore family, since I’m Santa’s editor as well.

I can call myself the Serbian editor of Montefiore family, since I’m Santa’s editor as well And this book published right in time for Belgrade Book Fair in October just went for second printing First edition is sold out! Miracle that rarely happens in Serbia with non-fiction titles View all 15 comments. Jan 17, Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont rated it it was amazing. It was a winter afternoon in late November, with the sun well down on the horizon.

The colour tones were all light-grey, not drab, just grey upon grey, dramatically punctuated by a brilliant flash of gold from the Dome of the Rock: It was the new city we drove into, with the old beyond, the Turkish wal City of the Book My first sight of Jerusalem was in a taxi, driving up bbiography the airport at Tel Aviv.

It was the new city we drove into, with the old beyond, the Turkish walls prominent on the horizon. My first impression was of sheer ordinariness, all a bit anti-climatic. After all, Jerusalem is a place that one has visited countless times in the imagination – the city of David, the city of Jesus, the city of Mohammed, the city of God.


It was only gradually that the reality caught up with the romance. Yes, this is an ordinarily extraordinary place; here I am walking on the flagstones of history itself, on the paths of destiny. In place of the Jews came so many others simn the Romans and their Byzantine inheritors, the Persians, the Arabs, the Umayyads, the Abbasids, the Fatimids, the Crusaders, the Seljuk Turks the Kurds, the Mamaluks, the Mongols, the Ottomans and, inthe British, General Allenby achieving something that had proved too much even for Richard the Lionheart.

Jerusalem is not so much a place, more an obsession. It was obsession, faith and persecution that finally saw the return of the first people of the Book.

Jerusalem: The Biography

History has been laid down here layer by layer, one civilization building on the stones of another, one religion laid down on the beliefs of another, the sediments of time and faith.

But given the sensitivity of the place, given its importance in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the kind of archaeology that would uncover so much of what is hidden has always been problematic, particularly around the area of the Temple Mount. In this particular regard the author touches on the story of one Captain Monty Parker, a louche Englishman, a sort of Flashman-like figure, whose archaeological explorations in the city before the First World War in search of the Ark of the Covenant were carried out with an Indiana Jones lack of finesse.

He is the only man in history to have caused a riot that united Muslims and Jews! The other thing about this deeply impressive and lucid book is that Montefiore manages to pack in so much so effortlessly without seeming to overwhelm one with detail; but there is detail and detail aplenty, from high history to the comically Rabelaisian.

I found myself laughing out loud at certain parts, not just his account of Captain Monty but also his sketch of some of the earlier pilgrims, who did not always arrive filled with holy purpose and celestial thoughts. There is Arnold von Harff, a German knight, who visited the city in the fifteenth century, armed with a few phrases in Arabic and Hebrew, which leave little doubt as to his profane intentions; How much will you give me?

I will give you a gulden. Are you a Jew? Woman, let me sleep with you tonight. There is the madness of the city during the siege of Titus; the horror of the mass crucifixions that followed its capture; there is the massacre that took place after it fell to the Crusaders inwhich caused the streets to stink with decomposing flesh for months after; massacre, mayhem and murder, century after century.

Montefiore is an excellent historian, the writer of superb biographies of people as diverse as Prince Potemkin and Josef Stalin.

I expect the highest degree of accuracy from him, which makes the occasional minor lapses all the more annoying. I can excuse that, a mere slip of the Roman digits, but what I find more difficult to overlook is the contention that General Charles Gordon helped to suppress the Chinese Boxer Rebellion, which took place fifteen years after his death!


But this is a minor quibble that did next to nothing to stop my enjoyment of a work of history that also manages to transform itself into a superlative work of literature. I cannot recommend it highly enough. View all 6 comments. Let me explain my rating. This book was extremely hard for me – all the way through. I knew if I took a break with another book, I would never pick it up again. It is non-fiction books like this that make people think the genre is difficult.

It need not be so, and say this with my one star rating! Later changed to two because I did learn about the city’ Let me explain my rating. Later changed to two because I did learn about the city’s history. It was not a total waste of time.

These sweeping judgments are not suitable. Truman is introduced as the “mediocre senator” from Missouri. I am not reading this book to learn about the author’s family. A word about the audiobook’s narration by John Lee. I have absolutely loved Lee’s narration of other books, but his narration here was a huge disappointment. The pacing is wrong, and by that I mean that the words in a sentence are not correctly emphasized.

It is easy to follow, yes, but it is almost sung! So strange and so inappropriate for a book of non-fiction. In that every single sentence holds so much information, it is a book hard to listen to. I didn’t need the pictures or maps included in the paper book since such is easily found on the internet.

You do need access to internet when listening to the audiobook. It seems to me that the book’s presentation of the three religions Christianity, Judaism and Islam is balanced.

Perhaps I am not the best judge since I read this book to learn.

Yes, you have to be a martyr to get through the whole book. Thank God, which ever one you happen to choose. I personally adhere to no religion. Look at the problems they cause. It isn’t getting easier. If I say this is dense, I really mean it is d-e-n-s-e!

I am going to be proud of myself when it is done. All the difficult names and places and boy what violence.

What does it say about the somon species?! Don’t omntefiore me wrong. There is a lot to learn from this book, but I instead see it as a textbook at university where you spend a semester on it.

I in fact did take a semester on the the birth of Christianity and the facts that are known about Jesus, but that was years ago. That is why I need this book. I like that in the audiobook the notes are read as part of the text.

Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore: review – Telegraph

They are very helpful. What I am getting is history. I have heard complaints that if you have faith, well you just don’t see the facts this way. Maybe I am wrong about it being balanced?!