Family stories without facts, without real history as background, are more akin to fairy tales. This is a selection of books I’m reading/referencing in my efforts to put in context and flesh out My Palestinian Story.

In alphabetical order by title. Last updated 17 May 2020

Jerusalem | Palestine | Other

~ Jerusalem ~

  • Armenians of Jerusalem – Memories of Life in Palestine by John H Melkon Rose
    Delightful and moving memoir by an Armenian Jerusalemite who tread the same paths as my family. He was also one of the few who stayed behind and as such provides rare first-person testimony of the detention camp that was set up in Baq’a to contain the “foreigners”, ie the locals!
  • Born in Jerusalem, Born Palestinian – A Memoir by Jacob J Nammar
    Nammar, another contemporary and not-too-distant neighbour of my mother, remained in Jerusalem till well after the 1948 war. His story involves imprisonment, impoverishment, displacement, discrimination, injustice and eventually emigration, and is simply and eloquently told. 
  • Feast of Ashes – The Life and Art of David Ohanessian by Sato Moughalian
    Life and times of David Ohanessian, the father of the art of Armenian Ceramics in Jerusalem. Beautifully told and superbly researched by his granddaugther.
  • I Am Jerusalem by John N Tleel
    Memoir of an iconic member of the Greek Orthodox community of Jerusalem. I was fortunate enough to meet Dr Tleel before his 2018 death and although I have not read this lengthy volume (an amalgam of more than one books, in fact) cover-to-cover, I was excited to find references to family members.
  • In Search of Fatima – A Palestinian Story by Ghada Karmi
    Karmi lived only a few blocks away from my mother’s family. This memoir is the quintessential story of Katamon, their neighbourhood, and also of the dislocation of its residents.
  • Jerusalem 1913 – The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Amy Dockser Marcus
    Short but informative, it is the basis of the documentary 1913: Seeds of Conflict
  • Jerusalem 1948 – The Arab Neighbourhoods and their Fate in the War by Salim Tamari (ed)
    “A compilation of essays on the fate of the Arab neighborhoods and villages of Western Jerusalem that were either destroyed or appropriated by Israel during the 1948 war.” (Available as free PDF)
  • Jerusalem and I: A Personal Record by Hala Sakakini
    An essential book for life in Katamon by the woman who experienced it as a young girl. Her book with its hand-drawn map was a key impetus behind the project Jerusalem, We Are Here
  • Till We Have Built Jerusalem – Architects of a New City by Adina Hoffman
    The story of three architects – one Jewish, one British, one Greek – who left their mark on the city. Hoffman’s writing is captivating and entertaining, and her research into the subject fascinating and informative.
  • A War Without Chocolate by Betty Dagher Majaj
    Majaj’s memoir left me in awe for her as a woman of her times and provided a wealth of information about the city, given that her husband was a leading medical and political figure in Jerusalem.

~ Palestine ~

~ Other ~

  • The Balkans: A Short History by Mark Mazower
    My first quick dip into the history of the part of the world where a sizeable chunk of family roots hails from: the Balkans.