Nine Quarters of Jerusalem: A New Biography of the Old City

We rated this book:


Any map of the Old City of Jerusalem names four ‘quarters.’ In fact, the quarters are less inclusive, and their borders are porous. To identify them as Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Armenian prompts a challenge to recognize multiple communities. Nine Quarters of Jerusalem is a superbly detailed chronicle of both the ancient and modern city. But the author’s mea culpa, his continuous harping on the discriminatory treatment of the Palestinians, while perhaps accurate, becomes prolix. Every story has two sides, and the 3,000-year history of Jerusalem has many more.

The sections are defined meticulously, and an overall introduction precedes the walls of the city, the several entry gates, and the neighborhoods. Each story is discrete, acknowledging Sufism, the Dom, North African communities, and several others, yet these are not ‘minorities’ as the term is understood in the US.

Profiles of men and women street vendors and shop owners who claim a family presence in Jerusalem for generations are the most memorable. Readers will choose their heroes, their demons, for this is a provocative book. Despite praise and admiration poking through exuberantly, an ineffably sad and vicious undercurrent loiters.
||Matthew Teller, who celebrated his bar mitzvah in Jerusalem, commendably allows the Jerusalemites to speak for themselves.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 400 pages
Publisher Other Press
Publish Date 27-Sep-2022
ISBN 9781635423341 Buy this Book
Issue October 2022
Category History