It is impossible to understand Palestine today without a careful reading of its distant and recent past. But until now there has been no single volume in English that tells the history of the events — from the Ottoman Empire to the mid-twentieth century — that shaped modern Palestine. The first book of its kind, A History of Palestine offers a richly detailed interpretation of this critical region’s evolution.
Starting with the prebiblical and biblical roots of Palestine, noted historian Gudrun Krämer examines the meanings ascribed to the land in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions. Paying special attention to social and economic factors, she examines the gradual transformation of Palestine, following the history of the region through the Egyptian occupation of the mid-nineteenth century, the Ottoman reform era, and the British Mandate up to the founding of Israel in 1948. Focusing on the interactions of Arabs and Jews, A History of Palestine tells how these connections affected the cultural and political evolution of each community and Palestine as a whole.
Awards and Recognition
- Gudrun Krämer, Winner of the 2010 Gerda Henkel Prize, Gerda Henkel Foundation
"The 400 years before the founding of the Jewish state is a historiographical minefield, but Kramer, a professor of Islamic studies at Free University Berlin, manages to produce an illuminating survey of the terrain...Kramer's fluent narrative pairs a much-needed focus on facts—including useful data on contentious issues of population growth and land ownership—with an evenhanded avoidance of partisanship."—Publishers Weekly
"We tend not to notice that Palestine existed as a territory before there was an Israel, and before there was a Palestinian national movement. Krämer, professor of Islamic studies at Free University Berlin, goes back to early 19th-century Egyptian rule, and then to the modernization undertaken by the Ottoman Empire, to situate the present in its historical context."—Martin Levin, The Globe and Mail
"An excellent source for those desiring an understanding of the background to the present-day unrest in the region."—L. Edward Sizemore, Dallas Morning News
"[Krämer] brilliantly contextualizes Arab anti-Semitism by investigating how, for the Palestinian population, the borders between Jew and Zionist gradually became blurred. By making a series of similar investigations, tracing all the defining points of the conflict, she has been able to write a book that stands out as necessary background reading for all scholars intent on investigating the current situation in Palestine."—Jørgen Jensehaugen, Journal of Peace Research
"This is a welcome addition to the growing number of studies on this increasingly popular field, and the book will be of much use to those teaching classes on Middle Eastern history, the history of the Ottoman Empire and Israel Studies. It will also prove useful in seminars on the construction of historical narratives, the connection between religion and nationalism, and processes of decolonialization."—Scott Ury, Religious Studies Review
"Krämer's is a well-researched and thoroughly referenced work of synthesis offered by a cautious and reflective historian. . . . A History of Palestine is a respectable addition to the synthetic literature in the field. For the non-specialist reader, the book offers a good introduction to the social, political, cultural, and economic history of Palestine and a wealth of statistical information. For specialists, the book is a further reminder of the challenges posed by colonial history and to the importance, in the twenty-first century, of including the voices of the indigenous peoples as well as the colonists."—Abdel Razzaq Takriti, English Historical Review
"[T]his is the first serious biography of the mufti to appear in 14 years and only the fourth ever to appear in English. The authors should be encouraged to greatly expand their research for a much larger second edition. The first edition is already valuable for the dark tale it tells."—Marin Sieff, Sunday Times
"Gudrun Kramer's book, although its name is not attractive, is a very interesting, well written book, which can enrich even those who know the history of Palestine. For those who will use it as a first book on Palestine, it is a good starting place."—Gideon Biger, Shofar
"For anyone seriously interested in the century-old Arab/Jewish struggle for the land they both call holy, you must get acquainted with Gudrun Krämer's A History of Palestine. A professor of Islamic studies at Free University of Berlin, she presents an exhaustive overview of the country's past from the Ottoman conquest to the creation of Israel, albeit with a subtle Arabist slant."—Tim Boxer, 15 Minutes Magazine
"[T]his is a comprehensive and readable account which should be useful to both students and scholars. Krämer's insistence on confronting the historiographical dominance of 1882 is a valuable intervention, and her long view of the past gives today's conflict the wider historical context that too many commentators choose to overlook."—Anna Bernard, Modernism/modernity