The official biographer of Winston Churchill
and a leading historian on
the Twentieth Century
The History Behind The News
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Sir Martin's Book Club
Book Club Choice
In Ishmael’s House A History of Jews In Muslim Lands
The relationship between Jews and Muslims has been a flashpoint that affects stability in the Middle East and has consequences around the globe. Starting before the advent of Islam, this book shows how the Jews and Muslims interacted in all the lands – from Afghanistan to Morocco – that came under Muslim rule throughout the 1,400 years of Jewish life in Muslim lands.
“In Western Europe and the United States there were concerns that Russia under Putin was drawing close to the autocratic methods of the Communist era. Thus, even with a much reduced land mass since 1991, and with its tremendous nuclear armament of two decades earlier being decommissioned, Russia remained a source of concern and friction in the wider world.”
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" This book is dedicated to the 13 million Jews and the 1,300 million Muslims in the world in the hope that they may renew in the Twenty-First Century the mutual tolerance, respect and partnership that marked many periods in their history "
The conquests of Islam made Jews subjects of Arab and Muslim rulers in a wide swathe of land, stretching from the Atlantic coast of Morocco to the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan. Being non-Muslims, these Jews held the inferior status of dhimmi, which, despite giving them protection to worship according to their own faith, subjected them to many vexatious and humiliating restrictions in their daily lives. The same conditions were imposed on all Christians under Muslim rule, and when Islam's conquests reached the Indian subcontinent, Hindus too were forced to accept dhimmi status.
In February, while visiting Hillsdale College in Michigan, I had the opportunity to visit the Detroit Holocaust Memorial Center – an informative and beautifully designed museum of Jewish life, Pre-war Antisemitism, and the history of the Holocaust, an exhibit which finishes with a display of Jewish soldiers from Michigan who fought in the Second World War.
Very exciting for me was to discover a “Sir Martin Gilbert citing” on the wall of Resistance, dedicated to non-Jews who risked life and livelihood to resist barbarity and help Jews, and to Jewish resistance in all its forms, physical and psychological.
Soren Geiger, my host in Hillsdale and I toured the Museum and met Feiga Weiss, the Head Librarian who is in charge of the vast archival resources of the Memorial Center, and Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld, the Center's CEO.
Although Sir Martin created the maps for their “Portraits of Honor” of the survivors who came to Michigan after the war, he had never visited the Museum. So it was an honour for me to do so, and an added bonus to find his words inscribed there.
Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld, CEO, Holocaust Memorial Center, with Soren Geiger, Assistant Editor of The Churchill Documents, Photo courtesy of Rabbi Mayerfeld.
Sir Martin In The News
New Volume in Official Biography
THE CHURCHILL DOCUMENTS: Volume 19 Fateful Questions, September 1943 to April 1944
Hillsdale College Press has published the latest installment in the Official Biography of Sir Winston Churchill. Fateful Questions tells Churchill’s story during the final four months of 1943 and the first months of 1944 over a total of 2728 pages of documents. It serves as the third companion volume to Winston S. Churchill, Volume VII, Road to Victory, by Sir Martin Gilbert. This is the second volume of The Churchill Documents edited by Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College and former research assistant to Sir Martin.