I downgraded from 5 stars because for an Audiobook it's rather too wordy and long, IMO. Overall I felt the author tried to present a balanced point of view by alternating the perspective from Jewish to
Arab and vice-versa.
I agree with another reviewer that by missing some of the background conditions it give a slight Arab bias, but it's hard to present any history of such a hot topic without being accused of bias.
This book was so richly detailed that it is hard to believe that it is non-fiction, and yet a quick check for names, places, and objects on the web revealed everything just as dictated in this terrific saga. Absolutely incredible! This was the longest audiobook I've attempted so far and I found myself yearning for long drives and hikes to justify listening to it at length. Thankfully the Mountain Loop Highway outside of Seattle provided just the trick! Be ready to spend late nights huddled up to your bedside speakers cursing and cheering on the various protagonists and antagonists.
After hearing the first few chapters, I realized I was in for more than I wanted. I thought the book would start back in ancient times and cover the big picture historically. I realized that this book was starting in the 1940's for the most part. 23.5 hours of modern history!? The first few days of listening on my commute, I kept thinking, who cares about all these details? The amount of detail is amazing, but who could remember all these names and places? After a few days, I realized how hooked I was. The narrator does a great job and gives you the feeling he was there watching it all happen. You'll get pulled into the story (although it is hard to keep track of all the names).
The book is very engrossing and I find myself wondering why the author would write such tragic outcomes. Where is the hero with guns blazing comming to save the day? I have to keep reminding myself that this was all real, not fiction.
This also seems very unbiased, as hard as that is to do. At times you think the author is on the side of the Jews, and then later it seems that he is pulling for the Arabs. The author presents both side as very human, with real emotions. You'll feel the loss of people on both sides, and wonder at the stupidity of both sides.
The other reviewers are not correct when they say that this book is from the Jewish perspective, no doubt because it discusses Jewish persecution throughout history. But in its portrayal of the founding of modern Israel, the authors are clearly biased towards the Arabs. No mention is made that the final Balfour Declaration was a watered down version of the original under Arab pressure; no mention is made that original Palestine included most of the land that is now called Jordan. No mention is made of the infamous British white paper of 1939 severely limiting Jewish immigration and forbidding Jews from living east of the Jordan River; no mention is made that Palestine was a mere backwater, that it was never a national entity, but merely a terrorial part of what was usually called greater Syria. No mention is made that the vast majority of Arabs living in Palestine in 1948 were recent immigrants who came because Jewish industry had transformed in from a malaria infested swamp into a productive land, which created economic opportunities that had heretofore not existed; no mention is made of the Arab pogroms before 1948; no mention is made of the Jerusalem grand Mufti's visit to Auchwitz under the invitation of Aichmann, where he was an enthusiastic supporter of the mass murder of Jews. These are just some of the omissions that the authors make. Omissions are worse than lies.
Narrator review: The best narrator I've had for an audio book. His accent was not thick enough to make it hard to understand, it was just enough of an accent to make listening to him very enjoyable.
Book review: Extremely informative and very detailed. Sometimes the names went in one ear and out the other (too many of them to remember) but the story never did. Flowed very well and very intense!
I am not going to bore you with book synapses. If you are at all interested in the conflict, this is a great listen. I think the narrator does this book justice.
"O Jerusalem" is a great telling of the formation of the nation of Israel and the war that followed, focusing on Old Jerusalem. This is a story no one could make up! It is rather a long listen but is easy to stick with. Middle East history is such a timely topic, and this book is a great resource. Great narration, too.
I cannot say enough good things about this audiobook. The sheer detail and scope of the story is unbelievable and it still reads/listens like a novel that you cannot put down. First time I've ever been glad that I got the 21-hour version of a book. Really.
Riveting story, excellent reading, and good length. Anyone interested in the history of Israel will enjoy this book. It has a great balance of historical recounting and personal anecdotes. The battle for Jerusalem and outlying areas are told in fine detail, but with a dramatic flare. The reader also has a really appropriate voice for the subject matter. Awesome.
I have learned so much from this text. An excellent book for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of an on-going conflict that continues to grab the news headlines on a daily basis. The writing is fantastic, the narrator superb and the topic gripping.