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.
About the Author
Born in 1965 Simon Sebag Montefiore is a biographer, novelist and journalist. He contributes to the Sunday Times, the Spectator and the New York Republic and New York Times in the USA. In the early nineties he travelled through the turbulent ex-Soviet Caucasus and Central Asia and in 1996 presented a Channel 4 documentary on his 2000 mile desert quest for slavery in Mauritania. He now lives in London with his wife, Santa, nee Palmer-Tomkinson and two children.
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