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O Jerusalem! Paperback – May 15, 1988

87 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A monumental work!"

-- Cleveland Press

"Moving, fascinating, informative.... No other book on this subject...comes close to O Jerusalem!"

-- Los Angeles Times

"It reads like a whodunit, and you turn page after page to see what happens next....The pace is so swift, the drama so heightened by alternating flashes of tragedy and comedy that one has to stop frequently to catch one's breath and marvel."

-- The New York Times Book Review

"A remarkable book...a history that not only clarifies the military and political events of the war but brings its human dimensions vividly to life."

-- The National Observer

"A story as dramatic, as miraculous, as full of wonders as any ever told."

-- The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Larry Collins is the author of Fall from Grace, The Road to Armageddon, and coauthor, with Dominique Lapierre, of the bestselling Is Paris Burning?, Or I'll Dress You in Mourning, Freedom at Midnight, The Fifth Horseman, and Is New York Burning?, books read by millions of people in more than thirty languages. He died in 2005.

Dominique Lapierre is the author of the bestselling The City of Joy, Beyond Love, A Thousand Suns, and Five Past Midnight in Bhopal. He lives in France.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Touchstone ed edition (May 15, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671662414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671662417
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

148 of 152 people found the following review helpful By shiloh.brown@fmr.com on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
I tend towards books in the historical novel genre, and count among my favorite authors Herman Wouk and Leon Uris. "O Jerusalem!" was recommended to me by someone familiar with my interest in the history of Israel, and I was hesitant to read it at first, thinking that I didn't want to slog through some dry account of such a worthwhile topic.
Well, "dry" cannot be applied to any aspect of this book. Considering all of the college history books I've read, I think I can truly say that this is the best "true" historical telling of a topic that I've read...yet. The authors, in true journalistic form, did their research, and brought in those "human interest" aspects I so love in the historical novels. Their treatment of both the Arabs and the Jews is about as unbiased as one can be--I didn't see any blatant pandering to either side-- and felt that any (potentially) incindiary remarks were based wholly on historical track record (e.g., Arabs don't have a history--in Palestine--of cultivating the land, and this neglect is mentioned a few times). I recommend this book to anyone wishing for an in-depth (but not too technically deep!) look into the partition vote, the siege of Jerusalem, and the establishment of the State of Israel. ( As an aside: I'm not too interested in politics, but the political wrangling inherent in the entire partition process is quite fascinating. It goes to show that 'goodwill gestures' have about a million moving parts--not necessarily made out of love!).
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130 of 137 people found the following review helpful By dougrhon on February 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
"O Jerusalem" is a classic. By focusing on one narrow yet vitally important aspect of the Arab-Jewish conflict surrounding the birth of Israel between WWII and 1948, the authors bring to life all the characters, good bad and neutral who played a role in the saga of Jerusalem. As readers of the book will discover, prior to 1948, Jerusalem was a city with a mixed Jewish-Arab population. The Arabs and Jews lived in relative harmony, sometimes in mixed neighborhoods. Under British rule, all religious groups had access to their own holy sights. The authors demonstrate how villaims like Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, a rabid anti-semite who spent WWII hiding from the British in Berlin, brought ruin to the Arabs of Jerusalem. Indeed, the Arabs come across as the ultimate victims, which they were. Their victimizers were not the Jews, however, but their fellow Arabs. Ultimately, war comes in 1948 and the Jews are victorious in establishing the state of Israel. Many Arab residents of Jerusalem are forced from their homes either by the Israeli Defense Force, fellow Arabs or their own fears. Most wind up in the part of the city that has come to be known as "East Jerusalem". The old city, including the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall is captured by Jordan and ALL Jews are expelled. The book describes in great detail, the tragic consequences of this conflict which was not wanted by the Jews, not wanted by their Arab neighbors but spurred on by interlopers like the Mufti, the British and many bad players fromt he Arab world like King Abdullah. It is a fair analysis. It does not make the Jews out to be saints nor does it portray all the Arabs as blood thirsty monsters. It lays blame where it belongs. Those pre-disposed to a revisionist view of Israel's birth will not appreciate this book because its fair analysis does not meet with revisionist ideology. But for anyone who wants to learn the truth about this conflict, this book is a must read.
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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful By sid1gen on January 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Authors Lapierre and Collins have written a wonderful account of the establishment of the State of Israel. They have talked to people on all sides of the problem (there were more than just two sides) and, although not impartial, the end result is as gripping as it is valid. I have said that the authors have not reached an impartial result, and by this I mean that they tilt towards the Israeli side. I do, too, to be honest. But Lapierre and Collins show a lot of professionalism and at least seek balance. I recommend this title to anyone interested in the Middle East conflict, together with Dan Kurzman's "Genesis 1948: The First Arab-Israeli War."
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. Reid on January 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Most people who have not made it their specific study are relatively unaware of the creation of the state of Israel. Fortunately, there is this excellent account of the birth of Israel and the war that followed. This book does have a number of flaws, but despite this should be read by anyone looking for a fair account of the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The book is the result of exhaustive research by two well respected authors including several hundred interviews conducted in the late 1960s. The focus of the book is at the micro level, the lives and experiences of common people who were swept up into the maelstrom of battle, but at the same time it does address the Macro considerations of the great leaders and powers. As such it contains an amazing caste of characters, mainly in their own words, from Jewish immigrants, to King Hussein of Jordan, to simple Arab villagers, to President Truman. Perhaps despite this, O' Jerusalem is a VERY readable book and a true page-turner.

The real failure of the book is that it was the product of its time. It was written shortly after the Six Day War in which Israel took on three of its neighbors and decisively defeated them. It was also long before the full implications of the refugee problem were known. As a result, it tends to paint the Israelis in a rather positive light. It leans ever so slightly in their favor on most questions. (more on this later)

That said, the authors made great efforts to be totally objective and exercised the greatest academic rigor. When there are contradicting versions of an event, they provide both versions with sane and level headed analysis. They restrict their information to primary sources rather than so many books now which use secondary or processed information.
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