Divided Jerusalem

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The Struggle for the Holy City
Third Edition, 3

Bernard Wasserstein

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In this timely book, Bernard Wasserstein offers the first authoritative history of the fraught diplomatic relations surrounding the Holy City of Jerusalem. Jews, Muslims, and Christians have all claimed the city as their own over the centuries—as have a dizzying array of foreign nations. In the period between the founding of the city and its capture by Israelis in 1967, Jerusalem has been conquered at least thirty-seven times. “No other town,” wrote Arthur Koestler in 1948, “has caused such continuous waves of killing, rape, and unholy misery over the centuries as the Holy City.”

Today, Jerusalem lies at the core of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It is the most deeply divided capital city in the world: its Arab and Jewish residents inhabit different districts, speak different languages, attend different schools, read different newspapers, observe different holy days—live, in almost every significant respect, different lives. Against the background of renewed violence in and around Jerusalem, this book explores the complicated origins of the current diplomatic impasse. Why is the question of Jerusalem so intractable? Why has it outlasted almost every other political dispute as a focus for diplomatic wrangling and collective violence? And what are the prospects for resolution?

Meticulously researched, and written with humanity and elegance, this book offers an illuminating contribution to the effort to achieve a lasting negotiated settlement of a tragic conflict that affects us all.

BERNARD WASSERSTEIN is Harriet and Ulrich E. Meyer Professor of History at the University of Chicago. He is the author of many books, including The Secret Lives of Trebitsch Lincoln and Israelis and Palestinians, both published by Yale University Press. His most recent book is Barbarism and Civilization: A History of Europe in Our Time.

“Bernard Wasserstein’s meticulously researched Divided Jerusalem is compulsory reading for all those grappling to understand the passions and perplexities behind the Palestinian uprising.”—Meir Persoff, Amazon.co.uk

Divided Jerusalem is a history of the diplomacy over Jerusalem beginning with the 1830s. It is a valuable addition to the voluminous literature on the holy city.”—America

“This lucid and meticulously researched book should be read by anyone interested in the intractable problem of Jerusalem. . . . A distinguished voice of the enlightened historical consciousness of modern times, Wasserstein seeks to comprehend the ways in which the ancient urges of religion have increasingly influenced and, at times, dominated the more modern interests of secular nationalism, Arab as well as Israeli.”—David J. Levy, Catholic Herald

“Well recommended for both its elegant style and content. Fine bibliography.”—Choice

“A valuable and lucid analysis of just how divided Jerusalem is.”—Hyam Maccoby, Evening Standard

“Scrupulously unbiased.”—Harvey Morris, Financial Times

“For anyone who seeks a comprehensive descriptive background to the complex problems and high emotions in the struggle for Jerusalem, this book is highly recommended.”—First Things

“Wasserstein’s book is a welcome addition to the library that such scholars as Bernard Lewis have generated over the past fifty years to help us comprehend the mosaic of peoples and the plethora of multivalent interpretations of this perennially perplexing subject.”—Steven Bowman, H-Net Reviews

“Among many recent books on similar lines, I know of none which surveys so wide a range of perspectives. Perhaps its greatest value, though, lies in its tone rather than its content. . . . Wasserstein’s care, coolness, and his striving after the elusive goal of objectivity should be congratulated.”—Stephen Howe, Independent (London)

“Bernard Wasserstein’s interesting and articulate book traces the struggles of a plethora of religious and national groups to control Jerusalem over two millennia.”—Colin Shindler, Jerusalem Post

“This humane and wise book transcends the bitterness, prejudice and intractability that mar the city of three faiths. Bernard Wasserstein has projected onto it his ample detachment and his skills of ratiocination.”—David Cesarani, Literary Review

“As the Palestinian-Israeli conflict drags on, the well-documented account in Divided Jerusalem is likely to remain salient for years to come.”—Jonathan Schanzer, Middle East Quarterly

“A lucid and absorbing study.”—Maurice Walsh, New Statesman

“Wasserstein . . . writes clearly and dispassionately on a theme that has been more cliché-ridden than most and long monopolized by propagandists and hucksters. . . . His book is the most sober and in many ways the fairest description I know of official positions and popular sentiments on both sides between 1967 and 1999.”—Amos Elon, New York Review of Books

“Anybody seeking a reliable guide to this awful situation can do no better than Professor Wasserstein’s timely book, which is as readable as it is erudite and judicious. It is one of those rare books whose copious detail never obscures the broad sweep.”—Peter Calvocoressi, Church Times

“This astute, incisive treatment of an age-old struggle erupting in a present-day crisis adds a calm, thoughtful voice to the debates.”—Publishers Weekly

“A telling survey of the profoundly unsatisfying modern history of the city.”—Tim Cornwell, Scotsman

“[Wasserstein] is one of our most distinguished writers on Jewish history. His latest book . . . is a well-informed and penetrating exploration of the ‘Jerusalem question.’”—Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Sunday Times (London)

“Amid the rage that continues to sweep the Middle East, a calm and dispassionate historian explains why Jerusalem has been such a pivotal and emotive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and reflects on ways in which the city might one day be shared.”—The Economist

“A book which deserves praise for its meticulous scholarship, cool judgment, and even-handed, non-partisan consideration of an impossible problem.”—Frank McLynn, The Glasgow Herald

“The book is well researched and offers a balanced treatment of a highly sensitive subject that engenders contention of global dimensions.”—Virginia Quarterly Review

“[A] lively and provocative new history. . . . Wasserstein has produced a crisply written and irony-laced account of the city that may well have more history per capita than any other. . . . Divided Jerusalem forces us to reexamine what we think we know about the sun-splashed city on the Judean hills, about its inhabitants and about its soul.”—Thomas W. Lippman, Washington Post Book World

“Crisply written, irony-laced. The city that may well have more history per capita than any other.”—Thomas Lippman, Washington Post Book World (Book World Raves-Nonfiction)

Finalist for the 2001-02 National Jewish Book Award

Named one of the finest books of 2001 by The Economist

Named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post Book World
ISBN: 9780300137637
Publication Date: May 28, 2008
456 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
12 b/w illus.
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Third Edition

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