Simon Sebag-Montefiore /
Weidenfeld & Nicolson /
The intimate history of Jerusalem through the lives of the men and women who ruled it and created it. Jerusalem lacks a biography. It lacks a secret history. Simon Sebag Montefiore’s account is seen through kings, conquerors, emperors, soldiers, Moslems, Jews, Christians, Macedonians, Romans and Greeks, Palestinians and Israelis, from King David, via Nebachunezzar, Alexander, Herod, Caesar, Cleopatra, Jesus, Saladin, to King Hussein, Anwar Sadat and Ariel Sharon.Jerusalem is the centre of the world, the capital of three faiths, the prize of many conquerors, the jewel of many empires, the eye of the storm of today’s battle of civilisations.Sebag Montefiore has been going to Jerusalem all his life. There is a special family connection: Sir Moses Montefiore, his nineteenth century great-great uncle, is the founder of the new city of Jerusalem - and so a character in this book. The Montefiore Quarter and its Montefiore Windmill, which he built in 1836, are still at the city’s centre.Jerusalem has, says Sebag Montefiore, always been a magical city but in terms of its history, the obsession with three faiths and its mystique, have ignored the story of the real city, a gritty, dirty, violent story about power, empire, love, vanity, luxury, death, not always a clash of civilisations and faiths.