Jerusalem

      Simon Sebag Montefiore
Jerusalem

Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgement Day and the battlefield of today's clash of civilizations. From King David to Barack Obama, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of three thousand years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism and coexistence.

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--kings, empresses, prophets, poets, saints, conquerors and whores--who created, destroyed, chronicled and believed in Jerusalem. As well as the many ordinary Jerusalemites who have left...


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    Young Stalin

      Simon Sebag Montefiore
Young Stalin

From Publishers Weekly

Russian historian and author Montefiore presents an exciting, exemplary biography of the nondescript peasant boy who would become the most ruthless leader in Soviet history, a prequel of sorts to his Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. Born in 1878 in the Caucasus of Georgia to an overprotective mother (who had already lost two sons) and a father opposed to education ("I'm a shoemaker and my son will be one too"), Stalin possessed a talent for poetry and mischief. Amidst his mom's trysts (with men she hoped would further Stalin's education), his father's alcohol-fueled violence and the powder-keg environment of the Caucasus, Stalin turned from priesthood training to gang life and petty crime. As he grew, so did his hatred of Tsarist Russia, leading him to meet the initial Bolsheviks, and to more spectacular and violent capers. From the start, Stalin proved a remarkable talent for meticulous planning, a skill that would become vital to the revolutionaries and, later, to his iron-fisted reign. Using recently opened records, Montefiore turns up intriguing new information (like the "Fagin-like" role he played among "a prepubescent revolutionary street intelligence" network), Montefiore captures in an absorbing narrative both Stalin's conflicted character-marked by powerful charisma and deep paranoia-and the revolution's early years with stunning clarity.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Brilliantly researched. . . . The portrait of Stalin that emerges from these pages is more complete, more colorful, more chilling, and far more convincing than any we have had before.” —The New York Review of BooksYoung Stalin is brilliantly readable, as intricately plotted and full of detail as a good novel, scrupulously researched, and full of hitherto unknown (or unreported) facts about Stalin's life.” —Men's Vogue“A meticulously researched, authoritative biography. . . . Mr. Montefiore has found the devil in the details, working his way with a fine-tooth comb through previously unread archival material.” —The New York Times“The most complete, accurate account of the tyrant's early years-a fascinating tale of life in the revolutionary underground, drenched in violence, fear and deceit, filled with a rogue's gallery of bandits, double-agents and terrorists.” —The Seattle Times

From the Trade Paperback edition.


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    Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

      Simon Sebag Montefiore
Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

From Publishers Weekly

Montefiore (The Prince of Princes: The Life of Potemkin) is more interested in life at the top than at the bottom, so he includes hundreds of pages on Stalin's purges of top Communists, while devoting much less space to the forced collectivization of Soviet peasants that led to millions of deaths. In lively prose, he intersperses his mammoth account of Stalin's often-deadly political decisions with the personal lives of the Soviet dictator and those around him. As a result, the reader learns about sexual peccadilloes of the top Communists: Stalin's secret police chief Lavrenti Beria, for one, "craved athletic women, haunting the locker rooms of Soviet swimmers and basketball players." Stalin's own escapades after the death of his wife are also noted. There's also much detail about the food at parties and other meetings of Stalin's henchmen. The effect is paradoxical: Stalin and his cronies are humanized at the same time as their cruel misdeeds are recounted. Montefiore offers little help in answering some of the unsettled questions surrounding Stalin: how involved was he in the 1934 murder of rising official Sergei Kirov, for example. He also seems to leave open the question of Stalin's paranoia: he argues that the Georgian-born ruler was a charming man who used his people skills to get whatever he wanted. Montefiore mainly skirts the paranoia issue, noting that only after WWII, when Stalin launched his anti-Semitic campaigns, did he "become a vicious and obsessional anti-Semite." There are many Stalin biographies out there, but this fascinating work distinguishes itself by its extensive use of fresh archival material and its focus on Stalin's ever-changing coterie. Maps and 24 pages of photos not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

Any biography of a tyrant runs the risk of humanizing its subject to the point of appearing to mitigate his crimes. But Montefiore's intimate portrait actually throws the coldhearted murderousness with which Stalin pursued and defended power into sharper relief. The book—much of it based on fresh archival material—moves smoothly between detailed sketches of everyday life at the Kremlin and accounts of the paranoid and sanguinary scheming that determined Soviet politics. This juxtaposition captures the vertiginous quality of life in Stalin's court, where no allegiance was permanent. Just as strikingly, Montefiore shows how Stalin, a "master of friendships," used charm to win the support of members of the Party's inner circle (many of whom ended up regretting it). This haunting book gets us as close as we are likely to come to the man who believed that "the solution to every human problem was death."
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker


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    Sashenka

      Simon Sebag Montefiore
Sashenka

Winter, 1916. In St Petersburg, snow is falling in a country on the brink of revolution. Beautiful and headstrong, Sashenka Zeitlin is just sixteen. As her mother parties with Rasputin and her dissolute friends, Sashenka slips into the frozen night to play her role in a dangerous game of conspiracy and seduction.Twenty years on, Sashenka has a powerful husband and two children. Around her people are disappearing but her own family is safe.But she's about to embark on a forbidden love affair which will have devastating consequences. Sashenka's story lies hidden for half a century, until a young historian goes deep into Stalin's private archives and uncovers a heart-breaking story of passion and betrayal, savage cruelty and unexpected heroism -- and one woman forced to make an unbearable choice ...


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    Jerusalem: The Biography

      Simon Sebag Montefiore
Jerusalem: The Biography

The intimate history of Jerusalem through the lives of the men and women who ruled it and created it. Jerusalem lacks a biography. It lacks a secret history. Simon Sebag Montefiore’s account is seen through kings, conquerors, emperors, soldiers, Moslems, Jews, Christians, Macedonians, Romans and Greeks, Palestinians and Israelis, from King David, via Nebachunezzar, Alexander, Herod, Caesar, Cleopatra, Jesus, Saladin, to King Hussein, Anwar Sadat and Ariel Sharon. Jerusalem is the centre of the world, the capital of three faiths, the prize of many conquerors, the jewel of many empires, the eye of the storm of today’s battle of civilisations. Sebag Montefiore has been going to Jerusalem all his life. There is a special family connection: Sir Moses Montefiore, his nineteenth century great-great uncle, is the founder of the new city of Jerusalem - and so a character in this book. The Montefiore Quarter and its Montefiore Windmill, which he built in 1836, are still at the city’s centre. Jerusalem has, says Sebag Montefiore, always been a magical city but in terms of its history, the obsession with three faiths and its mystique, have ignored the story of the real city, a gritty, dirty, violent story about power, empire, love, vanity, luxury, death, not always a clash of civilisations and faiths.

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    Titans of History

      Simon Sebag Montefiore
Titans of History

In The Titans of History, Simon Sebag Montefiore brings together a vivid and compelling selection of the lives of the towering figures that, for better of for worse, have changed the course of history. The 14th-century Mongol warlord Tamerlane, who once ordered the building of a pyramid of 70,000 human skulls from those that his army had beheaded, rubs shoulders with Oskar Schindler, the man whose selfless heroism saved over 1,000 Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis. In between these two extremes are those extraordinary figures, like Henry VIII, in whom good and evil were mixed promiscuously.

Inspiring and horrifying in equal measure, in The Titans of History, Simon Sebag Montefiore has created an engaging, innovative and authoritative window into the history of the world.


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