Relationships between Jews and Muslims have known many flashpoints, affecting stability in the Middle East and with consequences around the globe. In this absorbing and eloquent book, Martin Gilbert challenges the standard media portrayal, presenting instead a fascinating account of hope, opportunity, fear and terror that have characterised these two people throughout the 1,400 years of their entwined 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 first half of the 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 its aftermath, and the political sensitivities of the current Middle East.
"In 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.
Sir Martin Gilbert is the author of more than eighty books, including the six-volume authorised biography of Winston Churchill, the twin histories, First World War and Second World War, Israel: A History, The Holocaust, A History of the Twentieth Century in three volumes, and nine pioneering historical atlases, including Atlas of Jewish History and Atlas of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. In 1995, he was knighted for services to British history and international relations, and in 2009 he was appointed to the British government's Iraq War Inquiry. He lives in London.