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Jerusalem: The Biography by [Montefiore, Simon Sebag]
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Jerusalem: The Biography Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 259 customer reviews

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Review

"Magnificent . . . The city's first 'biography'--a panoptic narrative of its rulers and citizens, heroes and villains, harlots and saints . . . Montefiore barely misses a trick or a character in taking us through the city's story with compelling, breathless tension."
--Norman Lebrecht, "Wall Street Journal"
"Impossible to put down . . . A vastly enjoyable chronicle [with] many fascinating asides . . . Montefiore has a fine eye for the telling detail, and also a powerful feel for a good story."
--Jonathan Rosen, "New York Times Book Review"
"This is a fittingly vast and dazzling portrait of Jerusalem, utterly compelling from start to finish."
--Christopher Hart, "Sunday Times "(UK)
"Immensely readable . . . Montefiore is that rarest of things: a historian who writes great, weighty tomes that read like the best thrillers . . . He has a visceral understanding of what makes history worth reading."
--Philip Kerr, "Newsweek""
"
"Magisterial . . . As a writer, Montefiore has an elegant turn of phrase and an unerring ear for the anecdote that will cut to the heart of a story . . . It is this kind of detail that makes "Jerusalem "a particular joy to read."
--"The Economist
"
"Simon Sebag Montefiore's magnificent biography of Jerusalem has all the grandeur and sweep of her 3,000-year history. His masterful research and his gift for bringing it all to life make this fascinating work a treasure-trove for scholars and laymen alike."
--Henry Kissinger
"A Meisterwerk . . . As one becomes gripped by the rich, pungent detail of the lives of Jerusalem's rulers and the ruled, it becomes clear why this work was conceived as a biography. It provides a perfect, almost providentially designed, opportunity for one of our greatest biographers to display every one of his skills. Montefiore has a novelist's eye, a great journalist's nose and a great historian's touch . . . He manages to construct a history that no fair-minded re

"It's a wonderful book . . . [Montefiore] really tries to tell you what the life of the city has been like . . . why it means so much to everyone and why it's so spectacular. You fall in love with the city and it breaks your heart that people can't make peace over it, because it's a treasure."
--President Bill Clinton, #1 holiday book pick on the Today Show
"Magnificent . . . The city's first 'biography'--a panoptic narrative of its rulers and citizens, heroes and villains, harlots and saints . . . Montefiore barely misses a trick or a character in taking us through the city's story with compelling, breathless tension."
--Norman Lebrecht, "Wall Street Journal"
"Impossible to put down . . . A vastly enjoyable chronicle [with] many fascinating asides . . . Montefiore has a fine eye for the telling detail, and also a powerful feel for a good story."
--Jonathan Rosen, "New York Times Book Review"
"This is a fittingly vast and dazzling portrait of Jerusalem, utterly compelling from start to finish."
--Christopher Hart, "Sunday Times "(UK)
"Immensely readable . . . Montefiore is that rarest of things: a historian who writes great, weighty tomes that read like the best thrillers . . . He has a visceral understanding of what makes history worth reading."
--Philip Kerr, "Newsweek"
" "
"Ambitious and arresting ." . ." A powerful achievement, erudite without pedantry, and intimate with the complex archaeology of the city on the ground. In the matter of competing faiths, it is all but pitch-perfect . . . "Jerusalem: The Biography" is a double-headed book: at once a scholarly record and an exuberantly written popular tour de force."
--Colin Thubron, "New York Review of Books
"
"Sweeping and absorbing . . . Montefiore is a master of colorful and telling details and anecdotes . . . His account is admirably dispassionate and balanced."
--Jackson Diehl, "Washington Post Book World""
"
"Magisterial . . . As ae

Jewish Book Council Book of the Year
"Spectacular. [Montefiore] really tells you what the life of the city has been like and why it meansso much. You fall in love with the city. It's a treasure. It's a wonderful book."
Bill Clinton, #1 Holiday Book Pick on the "Today" show
"Magnificent. . . Montefiore barely misses a trick or a character in taking us through the city's story with compelling, breathless tension."
"Wall Street Journal"
""
"Impossible to put down. . . . Vastly enjoyable."
"New York Times Book Review "
"Apowerful achievement. . . . At once a scholarly record and an exuberantly written popular tour de force."
"New York Review of Books "
"Magisterial. . . . As a writer, Montefiore has an elegant turn of phrase and an unerring ear for the anecdote that will cut to the heart of a story. . . . A joy to read."
"The Economist "
"Already a classic. "Jerusalem "is an extraordinary achievement, written with imagination and energy. . . . Simon Sebag Montefiore tells this modern story with clarity and admirable impartiality. . . . Read this book."
"Financial Times
"
"Montefiore s towering biography of the city relates in fascinating, horrific and sometimes comical detail the wars to annexe its symbolic sanctity andthe daily lives of its inhabitants. This monument of scholarly research is also a compelling story: of human foibles, lust, bravery and chicanery."
"The Times of London
"
"Densely textured. . . . Montefiore embraces Jerusalem s paradoxes in his chronological account, which seeks to avoid hindsight and disclaims a political agenda. He succeeds admirably in remaining evenhanded, a particularly notable achievement."
"Los Angeles Times"
"A memorable and distinguished history of a city where the truth is much less important than the myth . . . . Splendidly evoked."
"Richmond Times-Dispatch"
""
"Magnificent. . . . A spectacular book for general readers. . . . This is a book about the ages, for the ages."
"Wichita Eagle"
"Sweeping and absorbing. . . . Montefiore is a master of colorful and telling details and anecdotes. . . . His account is admirably dispassionate and balanced."
"Washington Post Book World
"
"In his stunningly comprehensive history, Simon Sebag Montefiore covers 3,000-plus years of the Earth s most fiercely contested piece of geography. . . . Not only has Montefiore delivered a piece of superb scholarship, he has done so in an extremely easy-to-read style. The author tells the history of the complex relationships that existed between long-dead peoples in a manner that makes them seem human and understandable. . . . Meticulously researched."
"The Newark Star-Ledger"
""
"Few historians have demonstrated the vision, mastery, and boldness necessary to publish on a subject so vast and in such detail as Montefiore. . . . A marvelous panorama."
"Library Journal"
This is an essential book for those who wish to understand a city that remains a nexus of world affairs. . . . Although his Jewish family has strong links to the city, Montefiore scrupulously sustains balance and objectivity. . . . Beautifully written, absorbing.
"Booklist "(starred)
A panoramic narrative of Jerusalem, organized chronologically and delivered with magisterial flair. Spanning eras from King David to modern Israel with rich anecdotes and vivid detail, this exceptional volume portrays the personalities and worldviews of the dynasties and families that shaped the city throughout its 3,000-year history.
"Publishers Weekly "(starred)
An essential text, bathed in blood, lit with faint hope. . . . The author sees Jerusalem not just as the setting for some of history s most savage violence but a microcosm of our world. . . . The story is horribly complex, and Montefiore struggles mightily to make everything clear as well as compelling.
"Kirkus Reviews "(starred)
Four thousand years of history absolutely romped through a masterwork.
"The Evening Standard "(UK)
Immensely readable. . . . Montefiore is that rarest of things: a historian who writes great, weighty tomes that read like the best thrillers. . . . [He] has a visceral understanding of what makes history worth reading. [Montefiore] manages to bring people who have been dead for two millennia alive again and make them breathe, and he has insight into the mind of psychopathic tyrants that makes you wish he were working for the U.S. secretary of state.
"Newsweek""

Review

If you want to understand the Middle East, read this. (GOOD BOOK GUIDE 20120512)

...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. (Chris Burgess The Examiner (Ireland) )

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

Magnificent. (Stephen Lewis The York Press )

...never a dull moment (David Bradbury Daily Mail )

...as 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. (Christopher Hart THE SUNDAY TIMES )

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

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 (Barnaby Rogerson THE INDEPENDENT )

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. (Munro Price THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH )

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. (David Hepworth THE WORD MAGAZINE )

It is a gripping read, told with verve and fluency, and explains why Jerusalem, like a living person, has touched the heart of so many cultures, East and West, for so long. (Michael Binyon THE TIMES SATURDAY REVIEW )

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7827 KB
  • Print Length: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (27 Jan. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004KA9VCE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 259 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,517 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Right from the off, with a blistering opening set in 70AD as the Roman general Titus lays siege to Jerusalem, this is a well-paced and absolutely gripping read.

Early on Simon Sebag Montefiore tells us that a story of Jerusalem is, really, `the story of the world'. If at the beginning I was sceptical, by the end I was not. What stops Jerusalem from being a Wikipedian succession of kings, rabbis, muftis and patriarchs is the author's elegant and consistent ability to supply fascinating characters - the kind of characters you might not expect to find in a book like this. For every despot - and there are plenty - Sebag Montefiore gives us a rake, a bungler or an eccentric. Just as Jerusalem emerges as a place of religious intensity, it is also a city addicted to vice.

An important and beautifully produced book. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I came to this book as an Arab reader, growing up with songs, poems, and books written about beloved Jerusalem, but never have I come across a book offering such a luxurious detailed and honest view and at such a scale! Written with remarkable neutrality and taking us through the diverse and rich history of the most disputed and news making region in the world! This comprehensive, and unpatronising treatment of Jerusalem's past is neither overwhelmingly scholarly to gloss over the gory (and fascinating) details, nor too hurried as to miss out important facts. Simon Sebag Montefiore combines the rare talent of total political and cultural understanding with a great and most eloquent narrating skill!

"Jerusalem, the Biography" is a new sort of History, written as a biography, through the people who made Jerusalem, starting with King David and ending with Barrack Obama, over a span of 3000 years. Each section is about a person who, made, destroyed, believed in, or fought for Jerusalem, some are ordinary people, some are monsters and dictators. There is massacre, siege, blood, violence, but also beautiful poetry.

The story of Jerusalem, is truly (as the author expressed) the story of the world, as well, of the Middle East, of religion, of holiness, of empire! I was thrilled to read about one of the greatest philosophers, the Arab historiographer "Ibn Khaldoon", about Suleiman the Magnificent, Caliph Muawiya, Saladin Dynasty, Druze princess and angelic voiced Singer "Asmahan", the Hashemite (Sherifian) Dynasty, and most exciting to read was some poignant poetry by Nizar Qabbani.
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Format: Hardcover
If Jerusalem is a City of World History then it is the capital of blood and holiness. Simon Sebag Montefiore's superb new book is rich with salacious detail, scholarship and narrative drive. Such has been Jerusalem's centrality to history that the author is able to use the city as a prism to shine light upon a number of diverse periods and movements - Roman, Jewish, Christian and Islamic.
The structure of the book is chronological and finely weighted. Jerusalem has witnessed blood upon the hands of Jews, Christians and Muslims alike - yet the author is balanced and insightful enough to praise those rulers and characters of all religions who infused Jerusalem with a sense of tolerance, prosperity and architectural beauty.
Jerusalem may be a long book, but it is never laboured. One can read this book cover to cover, or dip into it to mine facts or comment on your favourite chapters, such as the Crusades or the middle east during WWI or WWII.
Am pleased to say that Jerusalem: The Biography lives up to the anticipation and hype.
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Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this author's Russian biographies and works of fiction, so I was quite pleased when this biography of Jerusalem was released. However, not even halfway through it and I am very disappointed. It is filled with statements that are not referenced or in anyway supported, and which can be easily debated with other sources. The lack of accuracy makes me question what I am reading and doubt that I can trust the material, which makes it meaningless for learning about topics where I am less knowledgeable.

For example, on page 95 of the hardcover version, he writes: "Jesus, like John (the Baptist), despised Antipas as a venal debauchee and Roman stooge: 'that fox', Jesus called him." The Biblical texts offer a very different view of Jesus and his attitude and give an important reference point to be considered but are completely ignored here. And, the fact that Jesus called Antipas a fox does not in any way suggest He thought him a venal debauchee and Roman stooge. Where does this come from? What is the proof of such a statement? How do you arrive at venal debauchee from fox? A reference of some type would be good since there are other works that contradict such an attitude in Jesus.

It is just one example, but I find that the book is full of these types of statements and "undisputed facts" that are not referenced and in direct conflict with other historical works, which are just ignored.

I wondered at the start how an expert in Russian history could take on such a monumental task as a biography of Jerusalem, and my opinion is, not too well.
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