• by Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • 25 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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. Read by John Lee.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Rolls Royce Production

At a number of points throughout "Jerusalem" I found myself thinking "How did he learn all this stuff and how is he managing to set it down in such a readable way?" The scope of the period covered by Simon Sebag Montefiore; the birth of civilization in the fertile crescent to the current day; presents real problems. The thing could just become a survey of historical events; it could get bogged down in detail or leave the listener dissatisfied by seeming to skim over crucial events. He avoids all of those pitfalls partly by opting to tell the story of Jerusalem through a number of families who shaped its history. So we get a gallery of intriguing and in some cases very obscure characters who are all fascinating company and who help to give a sense of the story barrelling along while also allowing Montefiore to slow down when he thinks it necessary and really explore a topic.

The city and it's buildings also feature with a satisfying level of detail about where the remains of ancient buildings can still be found in sometimes hidden corners of contemporary Jerusalem. As we get nearer to the modern day the author offers what seems like a fair and balanced account of the claims and behaviours of the various groups who still tussle for control of the city as a whole and the religious sites within it. I'm not religious so I just wanted this aspect of the book to feel like it was treating all parties with a bit of respect and so it did. The other way he grips the listener is through consistently excellent writing.

In addition to the absolutely excellent book itself praise is also due to John Lee, who narrates and the producers. Lee manages some pretty daunting pronunciations well throughout; he's clear as a bell and sounds like he's actually reading the book rather than just reciting it thoughtlessly. It's always nice when good narration makes a positive contribution to the listening experience.

Highly recommended. Sorry I can't give it 6 stars.
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- Jim

Interesting but ultimately too long

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

There was a lot in this book that was interesting and informative but it somehow couldn't hold my attention for long periods of time. In small chunks I found it worthwhile and I never felt like giving up on it but often took a break from it. As a result, it took me a lot longer than usual to get through it.

Would you recommend Jerusalem to your friends? Why or why not?

Probably not. I might suggest it to a friend who had an interest in the subject but I don't think it would inspire anyone if the interest wasn't already there.

What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

I had no problem with John Lee's narration It suited the subject.

Did Jerusalem inspire you to do anything?


Any additional comments?

I started off being very interested but as the book went on, each episode seemed to be dealt with in the same way and at a similar pace. It is a long book and my interest steadily waned. I always listen to unabridged versions but perhaps, in this case, I would have been better making an exception.

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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 17-04-2014
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group