The long and troubled history of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and its place in three of the major religions of the world is told in all its complicated glory.
Beginning over 4,000 years ago in the time of the Canaanites and continuing until the current millennium, Cooper tackles the daunting task of providing a mostly linear history of this place that has been built, destroyed, rebuilt, captured, and controlled by nearly every culture, sect, faction, or faith ever found in that part of the world. Of course it is not just the history of the temple, but of the city of Jerusalem that surrounds it. Names and dates fly in an unrelenting flow of information, barely allowing readers to grasp the material before moving on to the next era. The author maintains an accessible, neutral, and evenhanded narration, encompassing Jewish, Christian, and Muslim viewpoints and motivations, while taking almost obsessive care in documenting every person and event, with references from the Bible or Quran and, wherever possible, with historical or archaeological findings. There is a plethora of black-and-white illustrations, of varying degrees of clarity, in the form of archival illustrations, maps, and photographs. It is a fascinating, frightening, bloody, and deeply disturbing tale. However, dedicated older readers will find much to ponder. (Finished illustrations not seen.)
Inspiring and hopeful if not easy. (author’s note, notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 12-16)