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From the Holy Mountain Paperback – 2 Oct 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 483 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; Reprint edition (2 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307948897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307948892
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 236,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Dalrymple was born in Scotland and brought up on the shores of the Firth of Forth. He wrote the highly acclaimed bestseller In Xanadu when he was twenty-two. City of Djinns won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award. The Age of Kali won the French Prix D'Astrolabe and White Mughals won the Wolfson Prize for History 2003 and the Scottish Book of the Year Prize. The Last Mughal was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and won the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize. His most recent book, Nine Lives, was published in 2009 to huge acclaim. He lives with his wife and three children on a farm outside Dehli.

(Photo credit: Karoki Lewis)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Engle1 on 15 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was bought as a present.,But i have been told that it is a great read. The recipient is now hooked on Dalrymple
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating book about travel in the Middle East. 11 Oct. 2014
By Efrem Sepulveda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In From the Holy Mountain, William Dalrymple takes us on a fascinating journey through the Levant and Egypt by retracing the steps taken by two monks, John Moschos and his pupil Sophronius through that part of the world in 587 A.D where they recorded their journeys in the book The Spiritual Meadow. The author paints a beautiful picture of the time when that part of the world was exclusively Christian. This is a needed book in that it connects the historical gap that has existed in most histories from the time of the dissipation of pagan Roman influence to the conquering of most of the Levant, Anatolia and Egypt by the Muslims in the early seventh century.

The journey the author took starts in Athos. On this Greek peninsula that juts out into the Aegean Sea, a group of Orthodox monasteries sits where men concentrate on the spiritual things of life and these places still do not admit women to this day despite pressure from the EU in Brussels. From here we go to Istanbul, the place once called Constantinople. The book mixes stories of the former Byzantine capital with what is happening in the modern day. Places like the Hagia Sophia and the Hippodrome are mentioned along with the sad fact that much of the old city has been lost forever and that much the Greek Orthodox population has vanished due to forced emigration beginning in the mid 1950s. The story then takes us to Antioch, where the followers of Christ were first called Christians. Once the location of Constantine's Golden Octagon, the Council chamber where Libanius declaimed and the great hippodrome in that city, all of these have vanished.

There is a pattern in this book. As the great cities of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria were once beautiful cities with great Christian populations, that beauty and the great numbers of the followers of Christ have decreased greatly over the centuries and in fact many Christian communities face extinction today just as the old buildings of the great Byzantine Empire have vanished. Many Palestinian Christians have left their ancestral homes over the past half-century as the result of their eviction from their properties by the Israeli government. In contrast, the Maronite Christian population of Lebanon have committed senseless acts of cruelty that have brought down destruction on their own heads. Armenian Christians have suffered in Turkey and Israel. As of the writing of this book in the late 1990s, the Christian population in Syria still dwelled in relative safety, but they feared that once the Assad regime fell, they would face great persecution. They were very prescient on this score as the modern rise if ISIS has caused them great harm.

The book ends where Dalrymple explores the very end of the Byzantine world, the Copt monastery at the Great Oasis at Al Kharga. Even here, the Coptic Christians face persecution at the hands of Islamic militants and still face trouble 15 years after the writing of this book. Throughout the book, it mentions many spiritual things like the dedication to God via monastic life and the stories about driving out demons. There is mention of various sects that branched off from the Orthodox church due to the disagreements over the nature of Christ that were debated at the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon. These dissenters formed the Nestorian church and the Armenian churches of old.

I highly recommend this book for those who want to know the true relations between the Muslims and Christians in that part of the world today and the history of Byzantium that needs to be told. After all, Christianity began here. A wonderful book of 455 pages with a glossary, bibliography and an index. A great work; five stars.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Packed full of history and puts the pieces to multiple puzzles together very nicely! 5 Aug. 2013
By Stacey A. Griffith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful read amusingly written. Engages the reader as it does the full circle of early Christendom. I learned a huge amount, but was entertained throughout. His descriptive prowess gives you the feeling of being there without having to taste the dust or smell the dung.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Reprint of book published in 1997 (paperback in 1999) yet roughly 80 reviews for the book are not shown here. 29 Sept. 2013
By Mr. Tom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a reprint (not a new edition) of a fascinating book published in 1997 (paperback in 1999), yet roughly 80 reviews for the book are not shown here.

If interested in the reviews, search on the author and locate the SAME book published earlier in both hardback and paperback. Or go here directly:

From the Holy Mountain: A Journey among the Christians of the Middle East
Read this while traveling in Turkey 18 Jun. 2014
By Cheryl Armstrong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The sites described are very much supported now by money from abroad. This was a fascinating read. So much has changed since Dalrymple's dramatic and emotional journey. Southeastern Turkey is safer for travelers and the churches and monasteries that remain can be visited safely. There are very few Christians left in Turkey, but what remains of their churches are being cared for, for now. I witnessed interesting presentations by priests and lay people to Turkish tourists and student groups. This book is worth reading for its history and context.
great looking book with fascinating tale 30 April 2014
By Whisk R. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book for amateur historians who can enjoy a history-laden but simultaneously lighter-weight account of the author's journey. Kind of like the tales of people who have traveled the route of Marco Polo. Fascinating for those who enjoy middle east history and certainly the roots of Christianity.
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