Thursday, 3 May 2012

Jerusalem: the biography

Finished May 1
Jerusalem: the biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore, read by John Lee

This long (21 CDs) book is a dense history of the city from its beginnings to the present day. Encompassing the history of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths, it also tells of the passion and violence that this city has seen. I learned so much about the history of not only this part of the world, but of the three religions, of the relationship Europeans had with the city, especially during the Crusades, and of the relationships between the different cultures, the Arabs (of a variety of faiths), the Ottomans, the Europeans, the Jews, and the Africans. Like the city itself, history adds new layers on top of the old making it difficult to trace back to what came before. There are wars, rivalries, marriages and liaisons that all had an effect on this unique city. A fascinating book that uses up-to-date research to illustrate the changes over time.
I did sometimes find it hard to keep track of the action with the large numbers of players and the names that reappeared again and again as generations of peoples struggled to make this city their home.

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