Collins, Larry and Dominique Lapierre. O Jerusalem! New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.
Reason read: Read in honor of Collins’s birth month being in September.
Critics have called O Jerusalem! “massive” and “epic” in regards to its number of pages, but the scope of its topic O Jerusalem is singular: the year 1948. The year in which British rule ceased in Jerusalem and Arabs and Jews picked up their generations-long battle over the region. Written in four parts beginning with November 29th, 1947 to December 20th, 1947, O Jerusalem opens with the General Assembly of the United Nations voting in favor of partitioning Palestine. Joy and dismay alike reverberate through the ancient land. For this is a fate Jewish Jerusalem had prayed for for over two thousand years. That fact alone is staggering. Think of how many generations have lived through this struggle! Their joy reminded me of the Red Sox winning the pennant after 84 years, “Uri Cohen, a biology student at Hebrew University, happily kissed his way from his home to the city center” (p 42).
This reads like a adventure novel. You get to know people (Uri Cohen will come back again, not as happily). As a reader, you will crawl into their lives and almost get inside their heads. This may be massive and epic but you’ll hang on every word.
Author fact: Larry Collins was born and raised in West Hartford, Connecticut – just down the road from where I work.
Author fact: Dominique Lapierre was friends with Collins before they coauthored Is Paris Burning?
Book trivia: O Jerusalem! includes a section of photographs.
Nancy said: O Jerusalem! is included in a list of books Nancy says are all “certain to broaden your knowledge, increase your understanding of this part of the world, and be enjoyable (if sometimes uncomfortable) reads” (p 143).
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “A Mention of the Middle East” (p 142).