From Publishers Weekly
Intractable conflicts concerning religion and national sovereignty have always intertwined around Jerusalem. Focusing on diplomacy from antiquity to the present, Wasserstein (Vanishing Diaspora), a professor of history at Glasgow University and president of the Jewish Historical Society of England, traces the city's constant transformations in size, infrastructure and political rule. At various times, Egyptians, Turks, French, British, Israelis and Jordanians have controlled parts of Jerusalem. Moreover, while it has always been considered a "holy city," its holiness "is neither a constant nor an absolute" but rather a human construct that has "waxed and waned" over the centuries for Muslims, Jews and Christians alike. Wasserstein also follows intriguing, less-traveled lines of investigation, such as the diminishing Christian presence during the 20th century. Even as the violence in Jerusalem continues, the historical perspective offered in these pages provides hope for a way out. The author locates the Camp David negotiations, for instance, in a broad historical context: the Israeli-American proposal "for allowing Jews to pray on the Mount and the possible designation of a special section for that purpose... marked... a radical departure from both Muslim and Jewish tradition as well as from the policy of every Israeli government since 1967." In Wasserstein's view, a power-sharing solution is possible only if religious and national interests are separated. Though he doesn't offer a specific solution, his sympathies seem to lie with aspects of the now-moribund Oslo peace accord. This astute, incisive treatment of an age-old struggle erupting in a present-day crisis adds a calm, thoughtful voice to the debates. Maps. (Sept.)Forecast: Wasserstein's glowing reputation and his planned lectures in Boston, New York and Washington will win this book a lot of attention.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"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
"A valuable and lucid analysis of just how divided Jerusalem is." -- Hyam Maccoby, Evening Standard
"Astute, incisive treatment of an age-old struggle erupting in a present-day crisis
a calm, thoughtful voice to the debates." -- Publishers Weekly
"Interesting and articulate . . . traces the struggles of a plethora of religious and national groups to control Jerusalem over two millennia." -- Colin Shindler, Jerusalem Post
"Interesting and articulate
traces the struggles of a plethora of religious and national groups to control Jerusalem over two millennia." -- Colin Shindler, Jerusalem Post
"One of our most distinguished writers on Jewish history . . . [provides] a well informed and penetrating exploration of 'the Jerusalem question.'" -- Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Sunday Times (London)
"Scrupulously unbiased." -- Harvey Morris, Financial Times
"Wasserstein . . . writes clearly and dispassionately on a theme that has been more cliché-ridden than most." -- Amos Elon, The New York Review