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The Biography

ISBN13: 9781780220253

ISBN10: 1780220251

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

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  • 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.

  • Simon Sebag Montefiore

    Simon Sebag Montefiore was born in 1965 and read history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. CATHERINE THE GREAT AND POTEMKIN was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson, Duff Cooper and Marsh Biography Prizes. STALIN: THE COURT OF THE RED TSAR won the History Book of the Year Prize at the British Book Awards. YOUNG STALIN won the Costa Biography Award (UK), the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography (US), le Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique (France) and the Bruno Kreisky Prize for Political Literature (Austria). He is also the author of the novel, SASHENKA (published by Transworld). Montefiore's books are published in more than thirty-five languages. Miramax, FilmFour and Ruby Films are developing a movie of YOUNG STALIN. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children.

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    If you want to understand the Middle East, read this.



    ...astoundingly ambitious and triumphantly epic history of the city.
    The Daily Telegraph


    Full of faith, power, slaughter and fanaticism; this is a unique chronicle, balanced and critical and wonderfully entertaining.
    The Examiner (Ireland) - Chris Burgess


    This is a city that has survived Hell, and Montefiore takes you to the heart of it.
    The Northern Echo - James Cleary


    The York Press - Stephen Lewis


    ...never a dull moment
    Daily Mail - David Bradbury

  entertaining as it is elucidating. It's a history that is sharply paced as a novel and fairly brims over with sparkling writing.
    Sunday Businesss Post


    ...heterogenous, sprawling, erudite and touched by genius
    Catholic Herald


    A fittingly vast and dazzling portrait of Jerusalem, utterly compelling from start to finish.
    THE SUNDAY TIMES - Christopher Hart


    Outstanding, superbly objective, elegantly written and highly entertaining
    MAIL ON SUNDAY - Saul David


    Simon Sebag Montefiore's history of Jerusalem is a labour of love and scholarship... a considerable achievement... he has a wonderful ear for the absurdities and adventurers of the past... totally gripping... vivid compelling, engaged, engrossing, knowledgeable
    THE INDEPENDENT - Barnaby Rogerson


    Compelling and thought-provoking...Working on an immense chronological and thematic canvas Sebag Montefiore does his subject more than justice. He narrates the terrible history of Jerusalem vividly and graphically... fascinating but ghastly.


    Anyone with an interest in history should read this, if only to be reminded of just how much history has rolled back and forth over this pile of stones between 1458 and today. In fact, when compared with the carnage visited on it by the Romans, Crusaders, Albanians and, in the 12th century, the teenage King of Norway, the last 100 years there have been relatively peaceful.
    THE WORD MAGAZINE - David Hepworth

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