From the Holy Mountain: A Journey in the Shadow of Byzantium (Anglais) Broché – 7 mai 1998
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a very factual book with a story to tell; the most interesting is comparing the journey done 1300 years to the actual times and how cultures had been affected.
It is very valuable to comprehend the differences and the tragedies the whole world is living today in 2011.
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As a travelogue, it generally makes good reading, with an excellent balance between keeping the pace moving and covering people and places in enough depth. His ability to conjure images of places is remarkable - really feel like I'm on the plains of the Tür Abdin, or winding down the mountain road from Damascus to Beirut with him. Sometimes, it has to be said, he lays on the 'gee-whiz I'm an Englishman abroad in scary countries with bombs and tanks and things' attitude a bit too much. While he occasionally has a factual lapse or three, he more than makes up for it in atmosphere.
Perhaps the most interesting and amusing sections deal with the various wacky heretical Christian sects which inhabited the shatterzone between the Greek and Persian worlds before the arrival of Islam.
This book annoyed a lot of extreme American fundamentalists (of both the Christian and the Jewish varieties) for being rather critical of Israel's decades-long campaign of cultural and economic pressure on the Palestinian Christians. What better recommendation to buy the book to you need!
One minor gripe, I never do trust fellow Celts who think of themselves as merely North- or West-Britons. Dalrymple regards English football hooligans rampaging through Istanbul as his 'fellow countrymen' stuck me as bizarre. Are you really a Scot, William?
And I have one big question if Dalrymple ever reads this... he seems not to speak a word of Turkish or Kurdish yet he seems to have these interesting conversations with Kurdish builders about the Armenians... Are all these guys fluent in English or something? 'Coz that's a part of the world I know very well, and in my experience, they don't English any more than your average Dunfermline brickie speaks Kurdish. If you can really do that without the lingo, William, could you give me a masterclass in sign language?
It also seems to fair to point out that the situation for Christians in some parts of the Middle East, notably Turkey and Egypt, has improved considerably in the 10 years since this book was researched.
I was mostly impressed by the sharp analysis of the influences of neighboring religions/civilization on the evolution of christianity in the geographic area of Turkey/Syria/Iraq/Persia.