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Nine Quarters of Jerusalem

A New Biography of the Old City

Matthew Teller



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17 May 2022
In Jerusalem, what you see and what is true are two different things. The Old City has never had 'four quarters' as its maps proclaim. And beyond the crush and frenzy of its major religious sites, many of its quarters are little known to visitors, its people ignored and their stories untold. Nine Quarters of Jerusalem lets the communities of the Old City speak for themselves. Ranging from ancient past to political present, it evokes the city's depth and cultural diversity.

Matthew Teller's highly original 'biography' features not just Jerusalem's Palestinian and Jewish communities, but its African and Indian voices, its Greek and Armenian and Syriac communities, its downtrodden Dom-gypsy families and its Sufi mystics. It discusses the sources of Jerusalem's holiness and the ideas - often startlingly secular - that have shaped lives within its walls. It is an evocation of place through story, led by the voices of Jerusalemites.
 Nine Quarters of Jerusalem: A New Biography of the Old City

Imprint:   Profile
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Main
Dimensions:   Height: 218mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 42mm
Weight:   580g
ISBN:   9781788169189
ISBN 10:   1788169182
Pages:   400
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Matthew Teller is an author, journalist and documentary-maker. He writes for the BBC, CNN, The Times, Financial Times, Independent and Guardian and presents and produces documentaries for Radio 4 and BBC World Service. He is a regular on 'From Our Own Correspondent' programme, reporting from around the Middle East and beyond. He has been visiting Jerusalem since childhood.

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

Matthew Teller's Jordan is in my view the best Rough Guide we ever published - a book that combines superb telling of history with contemporary insights, and which conveys a superb understanding of the whole regional politics. It is also a book full of voices. Matthew has the best attributes of a travel writer: he goes out and listens -- Mark Ellingham, founder * Rough Guides * Teller writes with affection and compassion for Jerusalem's wide variety of peoples but a sharp-eyed lack of deference for a city whose past and present he explores with insight, sensitivity and wry humour -- Jonathan Dimbleby, author and documentary maker The Old City of Jerusalem has found an inspired, imaginative, and iconoclastic biographer. Teller set himself the modest task of telling stories. The end result, however, is a highly readable book, a vivid portrait, and a fresh perspective on this infinitely complex city -- Avi Shlaim, emeritus professor at the University of Oxford and author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World This book peels away the layers of deception to debunk the myth that the Old City is composed of four distinct quarters - a notion that continues to plague the city and underpins the assumption that present-day conflict comes down to age-old hatred between religions ... Teller takes the reader on a trip that reveals the Old City of Jerusalem better than any other book written about the city -- Raja Shehadeh, author of Palestinian Walks A lyrical and electric book, rich and intensely evocative (with a twist of cumin), as the author shares his life-long obsession for one of the most over-documented and misunderstood cities on earth. This is not another biography but an altogether more important book, about the human tapestries that could, possibly, weave together a new Jerusalem -- Louisa Waugh, author and humanitarian activist Captivating. Teller's language flows lightly but his feelings run deep and it is difficult to pull away from his descriptions of the Old City. -- Noga Tarnopolsky, Jerusalem reporter * LA Times * A marvel. Teller deftly braids the historical, the political and the experiential. His book is at once universal in scope and intimate -- Massoud Hayoun, author of When We Were Arabs: A Jewish Family's Forgotten History There has been no book like this written in the last twenty years ... Matthew Teller has resurrected this city -- George Hintlian, author of History of the Armenians in the Holy Land For any other city, a book that tells the stories of its residents might be unremarkable - but for Jerusalem, so often weighed down by ancient history and the politics of occupation, Teller has produced a book that is borderline radical in its focus on the people who live there -- Zora O'Neill, author of All Strangers Are Kin Exploding the myths about age-old hatreds between religions, this must-read book lays bare the role of arrogant British colonialists and missionaries in shaping Jerusalem's Old City according to their vision. It challenges the misleading maps that serve the Israeli narrative and encourages visitors to see beyond the facade. A must-read expose -- Diana Darke, author of Stealing from the Saracens

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