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The City of Abraham: History, Myth and Memory: A Journey through Hebron [Hardcover]

Edward Platt
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
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Book Description

13 Sep 2012
The City of Abraham is a journey to the heart of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and an account of the shared roots of the three great monotheistic religions of the Middle East.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1st Edition edition (13 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330420275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330420273
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 705,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Praise for LEADVILLE ‘A brilliant despatch from a modern British battlefield’ Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday ‘A reporter of fearless imagination’ Simon Jenkins, The Times ‘A book [that Orwell would recognize and salute,] that manages to nail our collective confusion about the contemporary state of things every bit as incisively as Naomi Klein’s No Logo’ Guardian

'This thought-provoking book takes the reader from Biblical times to the divisions of the present day . . . With the impartial eyes of an outsider, and using a mixture of reportage, travel writing and interviews, Platt explores the history of the hill and the city . . . illuminating the lives at the heart of this intractable conflict.' Choice Magazine

'Compelling' Independent

'It is almost impossible to exaggerate the importance of the subject, either politically or theologically . . . Platt has no ideological or religious axe to grind . . . this disinterest allows him to listen to all parties - soldiers, activists, local Arabs and Jewish settlers.' Mail on Sunday

'This first-rate account blends a study of the 'history wars' . . . with sensitive reports on the experience of local people, settlers and soldiers' i

Book Description

The City of Abraham is a journey through one of the world’s most divided cities – Hebron, the only place in the West Bank where Palestinians and Israelis live side by side. It begins with a hill called Tel Rumeida, the site of ancient Hebron, where the patriarch Abraham – father of the Jews and the Arabs – was supposed to have lived when he arrived in the Promised Land. Through a mixture of travel writing, reportage and interviews, Platt tells the history of the hill and the city in which it stands, and explores the mythic roots of the struggle to control the land. He meets the Palestinian residents of Tel Rumeida, and the messianic settlers who have made their homes in a block of flats that stands on stilts on an excavated corner of the site. He meets the archaeologists who have attempted to reconstruct the history of the hill. He meets the soldiers who serve in Hebron, and the intermediaries who try to keep the peace in the divided city. The City of Abraham explores the ways in which Hebron’s past continues to inform its tumultuous present, and illuminates the lives of the people at the heart of the most intractable conflict in the world.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Patrick
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very well researched and intelligent book. Edward Platt knows his subject and his many visits to Hebron have born fruit. It's a fascinating insight into a part of the age old Arab Israeli conflict that rarely gets reported. I suspect that many like me have very little knowledge of the importance of Hebron, its history from biblical times to today, the continuing conflict that runs through its history. But this book is eminently readable: it is not in any way a heavy read. The author brings the place to life, whether he is talking about the past, or the present. My only problem was trying to place the many people he talks about, or to, as the names don't roll easily off the tongue to those unfamiliar with the area. But that is a minor detail, and I would certainly recommend this book to any with any interest in this region.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hebron: a microcosm of Israel today 3 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Edward Platt's 'The City of Abraham - History, Myth and Memory: A Journey through Hebron' is a wonderful but difficult-to-categorise account of the history and present of one of the Middle East's most ancient and holy cities. While searching for the book in a large bookshop, I looked under History, Politics and Religion and finally found it under Travel. It fits, in fact, in all of these categories but it is, above all, the author's very personal account of his visits to Hebron, visits during which he strove both to understand the biblical connections and the ancient and modern history of Hebron and to get a clear and dispassionate view of its current status in the ongoing conflict between its Jewish settlers and its Palestinian inhabitants.
He states in his introductory chapter that he has always believed that it is his job, as a journalist "to listen to what people have to say, regardless of their reputation, and to tell their stories as accurately and honestly as" he can. And he succeeds in doing this, scrupulously not taking sides and even-handedly telling it as he sees and hears it.
The book is dense with information - sometimes to the point of accidental obfuscation, so anxious is he to tell us everything he has discovered about Hebron's archaeology, history and present situation - but his beautiful writing style, aided by the thread of his personal journey, ensures that the reader is led confidently forward, to discover more about a city which represents, in microcosm, the impasse that is modern Israel.
If you are looking for a pathway that will lead you towards understanding Israel today, this book is your compass and map: he approaches Israel's problems obliquely by focusing on the story of Hebron rather than tackling Israel's problems face on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read 2 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book outlines the complexities of living in Hebron. It is a tragic story in so many ways. It is difficult to see how people can ever trust each other again and live together in peace
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