Simon Montefiore Jerusalem: The Biography

Last updated date: December 6, 2021

DWYM Score

8.5

Simon Montefiore Jerusalem: The Biography

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We looked at the top Biography & History Books and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Biography & History Book you should buy.

Update as December 6, 2021:
Checkout The Best Biography & History Books for a detailed review of all the top biography & history books.

Overall Take

Simon Sebag "Montefiore’s Jerusalem: The Biography" details the 3,000-year history of this holy city, starting with King David up to the 21st century. People of all faiths will be fascinated by the colorful past of one of the world's most important places.


In our analysis of 14 expert reviews, the Simon Montefiore Jerusalem: The Biography placed 3rd when we looked at the top 6 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

Jerusalem is the epic history of three thousand years of faith, fanaticism, bloodshed, and coexistence, from King David to the 21st century, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict. How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the “center of the world” and now the key to peace in the Middle East? In a gripping narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals this ever-changing city in its many incarnations, bringing every epoch and character blazingly to life. Jerusalem’s biography is told through the wars, love affairs, and revelations of the men and women who created, destroyed, chronicled and believed in Jerusalem. As well as the many ordinary Jerusalemites who have left their mark on the city, its cast varies from Solomon, Saladin and Suleiman the Magnificent to Cleopatra, Caligula and Churchill; from Abraham to Jesus and Muhammad; from the ancient world of Jezebel, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod and Nero to the modern times of the Kaiser, Disraeli, Mark Twain, Lincoln, Rasputin, Lawrence of Arabia and Moshe Dayan. In this masterful narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore brings the holy city to life and draws on the latest scholarship, his own family history, and a lifetime of study to show that the story of Jerusalem is truly the story of the world.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

8.0
1 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.9
2,118 user reviews

What experts liked

An intriguing read, full of interesting lesser known facts, personages and new angles. At times, it reads almost like a well-paced novel, and is as hard to put down. Certainly, it provides a timely, as well as carefully balanced, account of this extraordinary city's long history, from the earliest times to the present day.
- Good Reads

What experts didn't like

For such a high-profile work I was actually surprised at the occasional sloppiness with well known facts and even the number of editing errors that it contained.
- Good Reads

An Overview On Biography & History Books

Historical non-fiction books tell the stories of past ages with realistic details and facts. Some center around historical events, like the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the Holocaust, while others focus on powerful figures from history, like Martin Luther King, Jr. These books often depict broader views of past societies and reflect on how the events impacted peoples’ lives and brought us to our present reality.

Meanwhile, books of historical fiction transport readers back in time with made-up narratives set in real places and eras of history. Information about the traditions, manners and social norms are accurate and authentic, as are much of the events and people described.

But in the case of historical fiction, the setting, plot, dialogues, characters and conflicts can be a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Thus, these works can bring readers to another time and place, but at the expense of some accuracy.

Historical non-fiction and historical fiction are similar genres, but purists generally prefer non-fiction historical books, including personal accounts (memoirs) that retell exactly how things happened.

When shopping for historical books to buy as gifts, think about what the recipient’s hobbies and interests are. For example, a child who wanted to dress up as Cleopatra for Halloween might be interested in Egyptian history. Someone who is really into making their own clothes might like to read about Coco Chanel, and a biography about Malcolm X might be perfect for a reader who wants to learn more about African American history.

The Biography & History Book Buying Guide

  • Historical books make great holiday gifts for readers of all ages. However, if you are buying for children, make sure the book is suitable for the age and reading level of your young recipient. If it is too complicated or describes upsetting historical events, you might consider finding a different book.
  • World War II history buffs love to read books that detail the entire war, as well as more focused ones about specific battles, key players like Harry Truman and other war heroes.
  • Read the reviews on the back covers of these books. Typically, such reviews are from literary critics or other authors. This is a great source of insight about the texts.