Jerusalem; The Biography
Jerusalem is as much an idea as a city, which is both its glory and its tragedy.
I've always wanted to visit Jerusalem since I was very young. Now, having read Montefiore's detailed, fascinating history of the most religiously consequential, emotionally intense city in the world, I feel like having lived through centuries of events and changes in the narrow alleys of Jerusalem.
Understanding the history of the Middle East requires a good understanding of the complex history of Jerusalem. This book is an epic survey of Jerusalem's history from David's conquest to the Six-Day War; it reads like a novel with a very sober historical approach, equally critical to everybody, including the Jews. It covers centuries of war, coexistence, fanaticism, enlightenment, and cooperation that have come to define the city.
The book's use of Jerusalem as the focal point to sift and sort out the historical narrative proves valuable. There are plenty of fascinating historical anecdotes.
When you finish reading the book, you recognize that Jerusalem is as much an idea as a city, which is both its glory and tragedy.
“When the Byzantine emperor Isaac Angelus demanded it for the Orthodox, Saladin decided that they must share it under his supervision and appointed Sheikh Ghanim al-Khazraji as Custodian of the Church, a role still performed today by his descendants, the Nusseibeh family.”