“In this epic examination, [a] celebrated historian explores the evolution of Judaism and Islam through a lens of Middle Eastern stability.” (Publishers Weekly)
The relationship between Jews and Muslims has been a flashpoint that affects stability in the Middle East with global consequences. In this eloquent book, Martin Gilbert presents a fascinating account of the hope and fear that have characterized these two peoples through the 1,400 years of their intertwined history.
Harking back to the Biblical story of Ishmael and Isaac, Gilbert takes the reader from the origins of the fraught relationship—the refusal of Medina’s Jews to accept Mohammed as a prophet—through the ages of the Crusader reconquest of the Holy Land and the great Muslim sultanates to the present day. He explores the impact of Zionism in the early twentieth century, the clash of nationalisms during the Second World War, the mass expulsions and exodus of 800,000 Jews from Muslim lands following the birth of Israel, the Six-Day War, and the political sensitivities of the current Middle East.
Ishmael’s House sheds light on a time of prosperity and opportunity for Jews in Muslim lands stretching from Morocco to Afghanistan, with many instances of Muslim openness, support, and courage. Drawing on Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sources, Gilbert uses archived material, poems, letters, memoirs, and personal testimony to uncover the human voice of this centuries-old conflict. Ultimately Gilbert’s moving account of mutual tolerance between Muslims and Jews provides a perspective on current events and a template for the future.
“A reliable source and a pleasure to read.” —Herman Wouk, Pulitzer prize winning author of The Caine Mutiny
“Moving and important.” —The Independent