i never imagined in my dreams that they would've held me in captivity for three years. my lawyer told me he had never seen anything like that before. the u.s. attorneys resigned a few years later for the overzealous behavior. i thought it was a misdemeanor and they had no curiosity at all about this nature of the offense. ..
>> you're watching book tv on span 2. we are in london talking with british authority ors and joining us now is author and historian simon sebag montefiore whose most recent nonfiction book is jerusalem the biography. mr. simon sebag montefiore. if i may start with the quote that you have in the front of the book. from amos oz. this is the quote. jerusalem is an old anymore for maniac that squeezes lover area lover. a black widow to devour their mate as still pain traiting her. what does that mean, why include that? >> that is a kafg the fascination of jerusalem. and how jerusalem has a magnetic draw to everyone in the world andal to especially to me. why i wanted to write this book. jerusalem is a lens of which you can write the history in
the middle east. to the world almost. and the exciting thing about it is that it has been conquered about every single civilization that you care to mention. the romans back loanians and greeks. on to the great. going up to the turks. british and israelis. so in every way, this is a fascinating place. and a fascinating gateway if you like to see the history of the world. is it located how did to become so vital. >> absolutely not this. is not strategically valuable at all it became strat evenlyically valuable and a great city. and a great fortress. so whether it went in arms invading up and down. evading egypt. and from egypt invading into sir yeah. they marched up the coast as napoleon did too.
and they didn't go any. it is all about holiness and it is attempt many city. and it is prestige. a name and history. all about religion. how did it begin? it began in the second the millennium. and before christ. and it is just a small mountain top for tremendous. just with water. a spring. a mountain top and those days high places were often holy and a fortress in the high holy place to have a spring that is all jerusalem had there. was nothing special about it. what made it special and made it special throughout
history is the decisions the whimsical capricious decisions avenue few men. and david's decision to use this trial. and this fortress to be. like washington, d.c. annuity rational capital with northern and southern tribes. it was that decision. that could have chosen somebody else. he chose this place. and that was the beginning of a special nature. and sanctity of jerusalem. >> did it serve as a neutral capital? >> this is nothing neutral about jerusalem ever in history. jerusalem has a special power. first of all one of the unique things about is that everyone feels they know jerusalem. and everybody feels there is a authentic jerusalem. that they will need to be built in jerusalem. if already there. so that is one thing. and everybody feels that jerusalem is there. and the other home city.
and somebody that he once wrote the other strange thing about is that cities that they want to live there. it is always affected conquerers exclusively. a gateway to salvation and judgment day. to the salvation of your soul. and it is hard to compromise that jerusalem. you want to own it. absolutely. >> you write in jerusalem the biography in jerusalem the truth is often less important than the myth. >> that's right. in jerusalem. writing history in jerusalem. writing this book the most exciting and the hardest thing that i have ever done it is sort of a nightmareish challenge in away. but when writing about
jerusalem the myths are more powerful than the facts. and the story that i want to write about the facts and in thinks book the regardless of the agendas of all of the ethnic groups and religions and all of the politics. i tried to tell the truth. and to get as close to the facts as i can. even deeply and convenient. and at the same time, the myths are often the things that have changed history. more than the actual facts. so always write ago history of both. often times the facts matter less. for example. the most famous christian road i suppose you would call this in jerusalem. the road where christ to have carried his cross along the road of sorrow. and historians believe that it was the actual 50e9 right route. >> yet. >> why? >> they think that it is actually the route to the wrong to the wrong location
of pilot's palace. it explained in the book. but basically, it may well be geographically the wrong place historically. does it mater and into no. millions of christians believe this is a holy place. and holiness this. is one of the themes of the book. what makes a holy city. the holy city is the place where a man can encounter the divine and meet god and where divinity is intensely present. it is true in jerusalem. but um part of the divinity and holiness. part of it is a heritage. pedigree. so one of the features of jerusalem made most interesting of the holy places is made more hole echt somebody else finds them holy too or somebody else found them holy before we did. and that is the fascinating thing. you know. so the holiness is doubled
and intensified. doubled and quadruple ldz and there is a great sort of instinct to use the stories and the holiness. the very stones that have stood in somebody else's victory arch or temple or palace. on the building of the earlier conquest of the earlier religion and to use those things in your own stories. and your own revelation. that is one of the fascinations jerusalem. when you look at that, people have to say, how do you write about jerusalem. and layer and layer upon history. hadistry is into interwoven and this is much more like a tapestry. and it sim possibleo unravel. >> what
fled the scene of the 1948 they just hand it had over to the united nations. just left. and a terrible mess. the united nations had no teeth. no troops on the ground. and the result was just a war where all arab countries invade and fought for jerusalem. and ultimately jerusalem was split 1948 until 1967 reunited in 1967 as we all know. and has been ruled by israel ever since. >> you and your book juice 1967. >> why? >> 67 really the moment of the present day situation that was created. the book in fact goes up benjamin netanyahu and obama and all of that. but the last sort of set piece if you like is the storming of jerusalem. by israeli forces. it was a moment that changed history completely and the state of israel and the nature of the state of israel.
it changed the of israel it was of such an exciting moment for the jews all over the world. for christians all over the world too. it was inspiring moments. and exciting moment. even for secular jews. it was an almost messy moment when it seemed like little count reef israel had taken jerusalem. and jewes could again pray, the western wall. the place. as jews call it. where which was all that was left of harrods temple. it was a vital moment. and everything we have today in the middle east has come off of this moment too. so tv a natural and exciting place for the book to reach its climax. so much happened all the way up into the obama era and benjamin netanyahu and the rest. one of the side highlights
we saw is mary mary magdalene's hand is there? >> they are relics from juice. all sorts of hands. and yes. so all sorts of fascinating relics in the church. and you know, she is just one of those. one of the women that was there in jerusalem. one of the fascinating women buried in jerusalem who will have relics in jerusalem. that which made the part in the jerusalem story. you know, in fact women in the book. women are very important in jerusalem. since you mention mary mary magdalene. and the church of the holey. we see it today the wonderful christian church and roman crusade of a church was built by queen melasont the margaret thatcher of the crusades. and beautiful woman.
half friend and half armenian. and the historians say they was as intelligent as a man. a high praise for a state's woman then. she built the church. it was her building. she is buried there. her body is in jerusalem. her real full-body is buried in jerusalem too. and there are many other wonderful women. living in the king david hotel. and a lebanese princess. and arab pop singer a sort of britney spears of the arab world. and alan egyptian film star. and caught affairs. with men and women and every single possible sect. palestinian. british and egyptians. the lot. sunni.
and mysteriously crashed into the nile. and the death of marilyn monroe with great mystery. the candidates for having killed her were virtually everybody. the mia. british secret service. you name it. you know. anyone may have killed her. she had so many enemies and seduced everybody. so one of the heroines of jerusalem. who lives in jerusalem now? >> what is the population? >> it is now overwhelmingly a jewish city. and more than it has ever been. and there was something like 200,000. or 300,000 and there of something like
municipalities. and jewish cities. and it is more jewish than ever has been for many, many. since the days of harrell the great. and it is a beautiful city here. and in archeological sites are astonishing. and dug up. pushed up by the temple mount. and titus's roman soldiers. and they are here you can see. astonishing palaces the first to rule jerusalem. loved jerusalem. they built the palaces up. high. that they ride the horses across a brej to the temple mount from palaces and so that the palaces could be
excavated and so whether it is jewish history or arab, and muslim history that you are interested in or christian history was never easy to seem more fascinating and complexity of city. is you know. all there. and beautifully presented now. how is the temple mount managed? that is a good question. it is run by the arab walks the trust. and if you like of the muslim community. >> when the israelis took it. the general military hero. and minister of the defense that organized the victory of much. he um went in and sat down and took his shoes off. and sat down with all of the leadership of the controls of the temple mount. that is the way that it should be in fact.
that was a wise character. done by negotiation. and that is the way it remainlyed ever since. obviously there are very few that will rebuild the temple mount. the buildings the al aqsa mosque even for a jewish person like me and a historian. beautiful buildings. so it is quite right it should be. and management temple mount will remain exactly how it is. and is jerusalem the capital of israel? >> yeah. i think it is the capital of israel. and i this i that ultimately it probably will one day be shared in one form or another. the agreement and the deal
of how to divide up. not just jerusalem. and how you divide up. occupied territories if you like of west bank. whatever you want to call it and the clinton parameters are well-known and that is the deal that would be done. each side would get their own holy places. and the christian and area main ann. and between israelis and palestinians puts the capitals of both countries and i believe of the two-state solution that the is best way to go when you look historically, and you read the story, so much bloodshed what is important is that both sides will need to recognize the stories and the narratives and the tragedies and the triumphs of the other side. and if that was possible
that is one of the reasons i wrote it is to see the varnish of both sides. >> you write in the book jerusalem. how do you do that? >> it is impossible of course. >> i bent over backwards to do that. and that is coming out in arabic in fact. and coming out in hebrew soon. >> he came out in arabic. and i have had. one of the thing from the arab world is about the people that made jerusalem. the women. and the families that made jerusalem. cities made by families and it is about the harrah's and talking about crusaders and the great dine cities of great arab dine cities.
and what i did was i really wanted to tell the story. so i found a member of each of the families and got their stories. so the stories are in this book. and and not about books of israel. the stories are amazing. and my own family to a rothchild that help to build the modern jerusalem. and so on, so you know. from the aushz reading history. didn't fine the many books. but i adopted attitude that i could not please everybody and shouldn't. what mattered was the truth. and my father said to me. . opinion friends said. if you do not mention the palestinian cause we will kill you.
and my armenian friends is he the same. so i realized immediately. i should not aim to please everybody. so the first governor 1918 said that when he arrived rather to be governor of jerusalem. fell out with both the aishg and the jews and went to the british prime minister and said both sides are complaining about me prime minister. i will have to resign. they said absolutely not. if either side stops complaining about you will you be fired instantly. i had a quote beside my desk. and the thing was not to get to please everybody but get as close as you can about the fact. that was the challenge. did king david exist? >> king david did exist. and there was a lot of very little evidence that he did exist. exempt for the bible. there is evidence. and i think that he did exist. he was the founder of the dine street. and what did former
president clinton say about your book. >> and started to get the techs from lunch of time in london and on this morning nbc and he was talking about your book. >> the "today show". and he is talking about your book. he said that was the favorite book. and he thought that he raved about it and it was spectacular. and that he loved the book. and immediately. i sort of whatever wized up. a hundred places in an hour. so it was nice when clinton and shimon peres or kissinger, david cameron. david camp ronl. it is nice for people to work and working with jerusalem. involve in the peace process and israel. and the middle east. people like that read the
book and sort of appreciate it. i mean especially bill clinton and kissinger. both of them are american statesmen that could have been deeply involved in the peace process. are either of them friends of yours? >> they just read the bookdz. and kissinger also read my stall inbooks and was you know. had done like them. so it is just lovely when people like that get in alike a work. it is a dream come true and this is book tv span 2 we are in london. currently talking with author and historian simon sebag montefiore. we have been talking about his most recent nonfix fiction book jerusalem the biography. you mentioned your writings on russia and your family. what influence does your family have on your russian history books? >> i think that my father's family. they are from jews ofityly.
from the arab world. jews from the arab world the mediterranean as opposed to germany and russia my mother's family is from ukraine and russia. so i am fascinate with the russia and the soviet period as well. what can we learn about the future dictator and stalin about his youth. >> it is all about such fun to and. young stalin. had missed the revolution. in fact. th is like sort of the butch cassidy sundance kid combined revolution and he have a specialists in fascination and bank robberies and 1907 bank robbery.
made the headlines all over the world. it was like butch cassidy. tablisi for now. many were kill in the bank robbery and they got away with the equivalent of $20,000,000 to fund the party. and the interesting thing is if nobody of able to prove that stall enhad organized this on the bank robbery, he actually killed all of the people that could prove it when he became a world's statesman. did he not want to seem like a bank robber. so he basically killed everybody. and changed the materials. some of the stuff materials that provided his involvement were the georgia archives. they led me into the archives kindly. they were closed. and um inside. i found fascinating evidence. and the interesting thing
about is apart from the story. the bank robbery. just amazing. they held up. the stagecoach. and through the bomb and killed all of the cosacks driving around and the last minl. one of the horses got up. ran off with the money so two of the gangsters ran off. and blew themselves off too. and they got the montey. and stall inwas smoking a cigarette. watching it as usual. and organizing that. and what is interest something that. every bank robbery will you need an inside man. so you know why i help stall inset up the bank rob radio he? he admired the stall inpoet and poetry. before he was a revolutionary, he was a published poet and his poetry was highly regarded
in georgia. a country where poetry is enormously important. and the man met stall in. i have a tip for you. the stagecoach arriving with 300,000 rubls in it. and i will tell you the details of that. why did stall inoriginally join lennon's party. >> he was a fanatic and believer of marksism. he believe it was justice and the progress of history. struggles of the he himself. he was history persona identified and he had a special role to play himself and he created himself from nothing and his real name was he adopted from man of steel. stall in. what was the relationship with lennon? >> very close. lennon said that the fact of type of man we need. and the reason why he succeed today become a soviet leader. he combined two different sorts of politician. you know.
in politics. there is a politician that can speak well. that can write articles. who can you know. think of ideas. and lennon was one of those people. and also good at fascination. and bank robberies, and secret work and what the russians called back work. and wet work. and stall inwas unusual. and that he could do both. and you know. if the soviet union had become a peaceful country civil wars and it had become accented by everybody. he would never become leader and because he was born in a civil war, and incredible brutality. the most extreme. brutal man that could do all of the thing that could have both the characteristic that's you will need to be successful in a country at war. stall inwon this contest to be leader so it was not a coincidence. the way that he became stall
inand the way that he made himself through violence and the secret world of bandatry and love affairs. stall inis in my book and based on the new archives that i found in georgia. you followed that up with stall inthe court of red czar. two questions. why the red czar? how did the folks around him. his court live. >> i like the red czar. i call that because stall inwas written about in the cold war as a enigma and sort of satanic gray devil like man if you like that was capable of the most terrible brutality. i was lucky about. and i started to write. my first book was catherine the great and russians and the people around president putin loved this book. they gave me accurate is he to the papers that were opening in 2000. so i was able to write the book that i had dreamed of
writing which was all about stall in. and as if you were writing about genghis khan. and not as a communist but not in the ideological way but the medieval king. czar. that is why it is the call of the red czar. and the archives that i found enabled me to write about this and to show that basically. of course they were ideological fanatics they believed communism. not just communism. but they believed that you needed to use blood leting and killing to reengineer society. to create a new society. stall intook it further than anybody else. all of them believed and talked about it. how would you have to kill. the whole classes of people. did they detail how many people died uned stalin regime. >> you read the letters in the archives and you literally see the tragedies being destroyed.
and by the top people. and there is also a humane stuff in there and there is a file. and age 7 she used to like to preten to be the dictator of russia herself and would write, i vet lana write to comrad stalin. i will ban all homework for the next six months and the lords were all signed by the entire government of russia including stalin. so you know, it is interesting. these are to write for the first time about the human stall in. and by the way. human stalin is not to in any way to apologize or conceal. in fact it will highlight it more strongly.
they were real people. not diabolical or horror film characters. then one could understand how it happened and how communism happened and how the regime would set up that is why i use the letters and the depth to show how the court work. and power worked. how the top 50 leaders lived. >> young stalin red czar. award wining books. how did stalin live. did he live like a czar? not as the with the splendor of the czar. he had enormous numbers of houses and all over the soviet union and in fact one of the interest things is that i went all over the houses that he had. many of them beautiful houses overlooking the black sea. one of the laid es was 90 something and she is he. i said to her. you know. being a jealous.
you know. historian i wanted to make sure that nobody was there before me. and i is he. anybody been around the houses. i have the photos of the houses in the book. >> she said no. nobody was around them for a long timex accept for the arab gentleman that came around and insisted on seeing every one of the house? i said what was his name. >> saddam hussein she said. >> and so, of course saddam hussein was obsess with the stalin. when he was an a will eye of the soviet union being taken by the kgb he said. i want to see every single house of stalin's he was the only other person apart from me that has been in every one of stalin's housees to see how he lived. >> what are your current and near future projects? i have a novel coming out. and it is about love.
it is based on the true story as well. and in history. i am researching right now the history of the whole dynasty from 1613 to 1917. and all of the czars. and ending up with nicholas. i love it is really exciting and less stressful than writing about jerusalem. and also have you another moj coming out after that. the world. i will do history of the world. would you do it? >> it is not going to be a long book. it is more of a literary book. philosophical book. a different history book. this is not going to have notes or be like you know. the sort of pantheon book of history. and everything. we will let everything in it. it will be the shortest book
written in fact of all of my books. in fact. it will be the look the life and the world. that is why it is called a bog feet. rather than in jerusalem. that is going to be a hell of a challenge too. that is wildly exciting. >> and talking on book tv in london with same simon sebag montefiore. author and historian you're watching book tv on c-span 2. joining us on book tv london dr. eric drexler who has written a book radical abundance how nanotechnology will change civilization dr. drexler what is nanotechnology?
at the present it means a number of different things. the concept when i introduced it 1986 focused on small machines. able to do manufacturing operations starting with the moeblg/building blocks, with larger pieces and precise products on the term. manufacturing. and if you introduce this term. 19 will 86 why you are just writing about it in 2013? again? a lot happened in the last book that i wrote. based on the dissertation. and this book will be much more accessible. a lot has happened. and since the launch. and research programs around world. and up brel of nanotechnology. and idea and popular culture has gone off