Walking to Jerusalem
'What's so impressive about Justin Butcher's book is the interweaving of his personal face-to-face experiences in Israel and Palestine against the backdrop of the social and political realities there. This book displays an empathy that is unusual in discussions of that tangled and tragic situation - the kind of empathy that will be essential in arriving at any decent solution to it.' BRIAN ENO
2017 marked three important anniversaries for the Palestinian people: 100 years since the Balfour Declaration; 50 years since the Six-day War; and ten years since the Blockade of Gaza. As an act of penance, solidarity and hope, actor and musician Justin Butcher - along with ten other companions for the full route, plus another hundred joining him for various stretches along the way - walked from London to Jerusalem.
This book is the record of his journey: a combination of walking journal, travel writing and pilgrim stories. It's less of a travel guide to walking across Europe and more an exploration of the many strands radiating from the Holy Land and its narrative, weaving paths across place and history, through the lives of Justin's fellow-walkers - and, of course, his own life.
Between the route itinerary and the themes of Balfour and Christian Zionism, Weizmann and cordite, colonialism, Jerusalem Syndrome and Desert spirituality, Justin charts a chronicle of serendipity: happenstances hilarious, infuriating and occasionally numinous - or, as pilgrims might say, encounters with the Divine.
'This is a gripping and intelligent book that everybody should read.' PATRICK COCKBURN, Middle East correspondent, The Independent
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The Other Jerusalem: Rethinking the History of the Sacred City