Jerusalem, sobering in its antiquity, holy to a fourth of the world’s population, stands in stubborn enigma against the folds of the Judean desert. The jacket marks this as a “travel” book, but the label falls short of the truth. Thubron paints Jerusalem, past and present (circa 1968), in bold, sweeping strokes and sudden filigrees of anecdotal detail. The overall theme is the balance between what is real in Jerusalem, and what lies projected upon it by the hope of at least three religions. The New Jerusalem, symbol of release for suffering Humanity, lies somehow embryonic within the alleyways and agonized stones of this city. Thubron searches for the font of this holiness through the ruins, markets, shrines, and caves of the city, and through the millennia which drowse heavily upon it. He shares his observations with the poetry of an enchanted outsider, neither believing nor cynical, but seeking only to elicit the mystery of Jerusalem from the ravages of so much humanity. [New York: Penguin Books]

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