Much has been written about Jerusalem since the Madrid peace conference in 1991, most of it
by partisans on both sides. Sir Martin Gilbert's work is one of the most entertaining, but
least objective. Gilbert is a fellow of Merton College, Oxford University, and a biographer of Sir
Winston Churchill and historian of World War II. He begins where his earlier volume, Jerusalem: Rebirth of a City, ended—around the turn of the 20th century. He starts his story with the last few years of Ottoman rule; dwells on British rule (1917–48) and the 1948 war; skims over the years between 1948 and 1967, especially the Jordanian rule of East Jerusalem; then gives a long account of the years after 1967. He ends his book with an endorsement of a plan to return part of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Gilbert is a master of
the art of compressing an enormous amount of materials about the city's social,
architectural, cultural, religious, and political history during the past century into a compelling and
readable narrative. His book thus provides a panoramic account of the city, and, because he relies
on newspapers, it has an eyewitness quality to it.