City of Abraham

Edward Platt

15 August 2013
384 pages


A journey through one of the world's most divided cities – Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank of Palestine, exploring the influence of the history, religion and myth on the country's tumultuous present.

It begins with a hill called Tel Rumeida, the site of ancient Hebron, where the patriarch Abraham – father of the Jews and the Arabs – was supposed to have lived when he arrived in the Promised Land.

In City of Abraham, Edward Platt meets the Palestinian residents of Tel Rumeida, and the messianic settlers who have made their homes in a block of flats that stands on stilts on an excavated corner of the site. He meets the archaeologists who have attempted to reconstruct the history of the hill. He meets the soldiers who serve in Hebron, and the intermediaries who try to keep the peace in the divided city.

Through a mixture of travel writing, reportage and interviews, Platt tells the history of the Tel Rumeida hill and the city in which it stands, and explores the mythic roots of the struggle to control the land – illuminating the lives of the people at the heart of the most intractable conflict in the world.

This first-rate account blends a study of the “history wars” . . . with sensitive reports on the experience of local people, settlers and soldiers
This thought-provoking book takes the reader from Biblical times to the divisions of the present day . . . With the impartial eyes of an outsider, and using a mixture of reportage, travel writing and interviews, Platt explores the history of the hill and the city . . . illuminating the lives at the heart of this intractable conflict.