‘A wonderful book: wise and compassionate, lucid and intelligent, balanced and fair.’
Ian Gilmour, London Review of Books
‘Splendid … essential reading for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.’ John Ash, Washington Post
‘Deftly told … Armstrong is a knowledgable guide, and this is a sober and articulate tour of a complex subject and a city where, as she puts it, history is a dimension of the present.’ James Owen, Literary Review
From the Back Cover
Jerusalem has probably cast more of a spell over the human imagination than any other city in the world. Held by the faithful to contain the mountain upon which Abraham offered up Isaac, the site of the Hebrew Temple, the hill of Christ's crucifixion, the tomb of the Virgin Mary and the rock from which the prophet Muhammed ascended to heaven, the city has been celebrated and revered for centuries by Jews, Christians and Muslims. Karen Armstrong uncovers each layer of the history of this great palimpsest of a city. Her book is a history of the city – and it is more than that: it is, in Karen Armstrong's words, "an attempt to find out what Jews, Christians and Muslims have meant when they say the city is 'holy' to them, and point out some of the implications of Jerusalem's sanctity in each tradition."
"A luminous history of Jerusalem… [Armstrong's] book, imbued with sympathy for all three religions, added to careful scholarship and deep knowledge of theology and history, is a triumph."
IAN GILMOUR, 'London Review of Books'
"It is a brave person who ventures into this historical minefield… But a book has been published which is the closest we are likely to get to historical balance on the subject. This is Karen Armstrong's excellent 'History of Jerusalem'… She gives space to the hopes and aspirations of all the people for whom Jerusalem is holy… There is a vital need for an even-handed chronicler like Karen Armstrong, who is not afraid to stand up and speak unwelcome truths. A thread of real compassion runs through her book."
WILLIAM DALRYMPLE, 'Independent'
"A book to be taken in large gulps… 'A History of Jerusalem' combines a flowing narrative with Karen Armstrong's accustomed sharp breaks for stimulation… This book should be read, not only by travellers and potential travellers in Jerusalem, but by all of us. Jerusalem remains the most remarkable place in the world and Karen Armstrong is as good a guide as we could want."
STEPHEN TUMMIN, 'Daily Telegraph'
"Balancing awesome erudition with admirable clarity and elegance, Karen Armstrong's book guides the general reader through … what, since Biblical times seems to have been a minefield of ethnic and religious sensibility… A sobering study in human intolerance."