Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World

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A “masterful” history of the city and its holy wars past and present, from the New York Times–bestselling author of Constantine’s Sword (The Boston Globe).
 
How did this ancient Middle Eastern city become a transcendent fantasy that ignites religious fervor unlike anywhere else on earth? Jerusalem, Jerusalem journeys through centuries of conflict among Jews, Christians, and Muslims, right up to the present-day Israeli-Palestinian struggle—with fascinating examinations of how the idea of the holy city has shaped not just the region’s history but the world’s.
 
 
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About the author

James Carroll was raised in Washington, D.C., and ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1969. He served as a chaplain at Boston University from 1969 to 1974, then left the priesthood to become a writer. A distinguished scholar- in-residence at Suffolk University, he is a columnist for the Boston Globe and a regular contributor to the Daily Beast. His critically admired books include Practicing Catholic, the National Book Award–winning An American Requiem, House of War, which won the first PEN/Galbraith Award, and the New York Times bestseller Constantine’s Sword, now an acclaimed documentary.
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Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
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Published on
Mar 9, 2011
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Pages
432
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ISBN
9780547549057
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Jewish
History / Middle East / Israel & Palestine
Religion / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Sicker provides a synthesis from a wide range of sources that have not previously been integrated to present an unromanticized recapitulation of the events and personalities that led to the troubled birth of modern Israel. Much historical writing on modern Israel, Sicker asserts, is apologetic and editorially filtered in conformity with a traditional Zionist historiography that tends to obscure as much as it reveals. As a result, the emergence of modern Israel is shrouded in a mythology that has little or no place for inconvenient facts or dissonant voices. Sicker examines the nature of the struggles within the Zionist community over the national idea and its implications, and the evolving interactions of that community with the external political environment. This leads him to assign a far more significant role to the so- called right-wing movements than is usually allotted to them in the traditional left-oriented historiography and a more critical assessment of the Zionist leadership.

He shows that virtually every major problem faced by contemporary Israel, a half-century after it came into existence, was foreshadowed by the events and circumstances that precipitated and conditioned its emergence. Sicker examines the seemingly irreconcilable differences between the left and right extremes of the political spectrum; between the religious community and the secular; and between the Zionists and the anti-Zionists. Today, a half-century later, these same issues are causing an increasing polarization of Israeli society, with uncertain ramifications for the future.

Jerusalem is more than a holy city built of stone. Domain of Muslims, Jews, and Christians, Jerusalem is a perpetual contest, and its shrines, housing projects, and bulldozers compete in a scramble for possession. Now one of Jerusalem's most respected authorities presents a history of the city that does not fall prey to any one version of its past.

Meron Benvenisti begins with a reflection on the 1996 celebration of Jerusalem's 3000-year anniversary as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. He then juxtaposes eras, dynasties, and rulers in ways that provide grand comparative insights. But unlike recent politically motivated histories written to justify the claims of Jews and Arabs now living in Jerusalem, Benvenisti has no such agenda. His history is a polyphonic story that lacks victors as well as vanquished. He describes the triumphs and defeats of all the city's residents, from those who walk its streets today to the meddlesome ghosts who linger in its shadows.

Benvenisti focuses primarily on the twentieth century, but ancient hatreds are constantly discovered just below the surface. These hostilities have created intense social, cultural, and political interactions that Benvenisti weaves into a compelling human story. For him, any claim to the city means recognizing its historical diversity and multiple populations.

A native son of Jerusalem, Benvenisti knows the city well, and his integrated history makes clear that all of Jerusalem's citizens have enriched the Holy City in the past. It is his belief that they can also do so in the future.
In a bold and moving book that is sure to spark heated debate, the novelist and cultural critic James Carroll maps the profoundly troubling two-thousand-year course of the Church’s battle against Judaism and faces the crisis of faith it has provoked in his own life as a Catholic. More than a chronicle of religion, this dark history is the central tragedy of Western civilization, its fault lines reaching deep into our culture.
The Church’s failure to protest the Holocaust — the infamous “silence” of Pius XII — is only part of the story: the death camps, Carroll shows, are the culmination of a long, entrenched tradition of anti-Judaism. From Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus on the cross, to Constantine’s transformation of the cross into a sword, to the rise of blood libels, scapegoating, and modern anti-Semitism, Carroll reconstructs the dramatic story of the Church’s conflict not only with Jews but with itself. Yet in tracing the arc of this narrative, he implicitly affirms that it did not necessarily have to be so. There were roads not taken, heroes forgotten; new roads can be taken yet. Demanding that the Church finally face this past in full, Carroll calls for a fundamental rethinking of the deepest questions of Christian faith. Only then can Christians, Jews, and all who carry the burden of this history begin to forge a new future.
Drawing on his well-known talents as a storyteller and memoirist, and weaving historical research through an intensely personal examination of conscience, Carroll has created a work of singular power and urgency. CONSTANTINE'S SWORD is a brave and affecting reckoning with difficult truths that will touch every reader.
In post-WWII Italy, an American uncovers a Vatican scandal in a “thriller with deeply serious historical undertones” by a National Book Award winner (Alan Cheuse, NPR, All Things Considered).
 
David Warburg, newly minted director of the US War Refugee Board, arrives in Rome at war’s end, determined to bring aid to the destitute European Jews streaming into the city. Marguerite d’Erasmo, a French-Italian Red Cross worker with a shadowed past, is initially Warburg’s guide—while a charismatic young American Catholic priest, Monsignor Kevin Deane, seems equally committed to aiding Italian Jews.
 
But the city is a labyrinth of desperate fugitives: runaway Nazis, Jewish resisters, and criminal Church figures. Marguerite, caught between justice and revenge, is forced to play a double game. At the center of the maze, Warburg discovers one of history’s great scandals: the Vatican ratline, a clandestine escape route maintained by Church officials and providing scores of Nazi war criminals with secret passage to South America. 
 
Turning to American intelligence officials, he learns that the dark secret is not as secret as he thought—and that even those he trusts may betray him—in this “complex and compelling novel of the Vatican and morality during World War II” (Library Journal). Warburg in Rome has “the breathtaking pace of a thriller and the gravitas of a genuine moral center—as if John LeCarré and Graham Greene collaborated” (Mary Gordon).
 
“A high-stakes battle between good and evil [and] a plot full of twists and turns.” —The Boston Globe
 
“A suspenseful historical drama set in Rome at the end of WWII and centering on Vatican complicity in the flight of Nazi fugitives to Argentina.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Recommend this utterly engaging thriller to fans of Joseph Kanon’s The Good German and James R. Benn’s Death’s Door.” —Booklist, starred review
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