James Carroll's urgent, masterly Jerusalem, Jerusalem uncovers the ways in which the city became a transcendent fantasy that ignites religious fervour unlike anywhere else on earth. He shows how the conflicts within this holiest of cities underscore an important point of history: that religion and violence fuel each other.
In Carroll's provocative reading of the deep past, the Bible came into being as an act of resistance to the violence that threatened Jerusalem from the start. Tracing the richly intertwined threads of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim history, Carroll illuminates the European fixation on a heavenly Jerusalem as the spark of both anti-Semitism and racist colonial contempt. The holy wars of the Knights Templar burned apocalyptic mayhem into the Western mind; now, heavenly Jerusalem defines the American imagination -- and always, the earthly city smoulders. Jerusalem fever, inextricably tied to Christian fervour, is the deadly third party to the Arab-Israeli wars. Understanding it is the key that unlocks world history, and gives us our best chance to re-imagine peace.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the current disharmony of modern-day Jerusalem and its historical underpinnings. To the standard set by Constantine's Sword, here again is a 'rare book that combines searing passion ... with a subject that has affected all our lives' (Chicago Tribune).
‘Author of the admirable Constantine’s Sword, Carroll here explores not Jerusalem but the idea of Jerusalem - how, from the Crusades to Christopher Columbus’s Jerusalem-centric view to the founding of Israel, the city has inspired passionate idealism and hence conflict. With a seven-city tour; one of my nonfiction favorites.’
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‘Carroll examines the enigma that is Jerusalem—the holiest and most blood-soaked spot on earth—with insight and candor … Carroll’s writing is so compelling, so beautifully constructed, that, ironically, the book can be a very slow read. There is something on almost every page that makes the reader want to stop and contemplate. For those meeting Jerusalem for the first time, this volume makes a stunning introduction. For others, who have struggled with the city’s conundrums, either its symbolic meaning in the history of civilization or its place in the modern world, Carroll’s reflections will add clarity if not closure.’
starred review, Booklist
‘Conceptually profound, richly detailed, and wonderfully realized, this book brings to life the dynamic story of the Divided City.’
Starred review, Publishers Weekly
‘James Carroll’s Jerusalem, Jerusalem should be required reading for all: it is a lucid, calm, deeply compelling history of the literal and symbolic significance of that city, at the heart and origins of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. From Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac through Charlemagne and Spinoza to Adolf Eichmann and Billy Graham, Carroll marshals an extraordinary range of sources to illuminate the interwoven violence and redemption that define Jerusalem in the world entire, up to this day.’
Claire Messud, author of THE EMPEROR'S CHILDREN
‘What a remarkable book! I was blown away by the breadth and depth of it. Another hugely important book from James Carroll, right there with Constantine's Sword.’
Reza Aslan, author of NO GOD BUT GOD
‘I dare you to read this book and see Jerusalem, or yourself, the same way.’
Bernard Avishai, author of THE HEBREW REPUBLIC