Histories of Jerusalem are usually concerned with the holy places, the various communities living in the city, or the crusader and ancient pasts. Abigail Jacobson in From Empire to Empire instead focuses on Jerusalem as an urban space and how it was affected by World War One. From Empire to Empire is a groundbreaking work as Jacobson successfully bridges the Ottoman and post-Ottoman eras, which had been previously treated as separate periods. In previous narratives the transitional period has often, if not always, been neglected. Only recently have a few scholars begun to examine this forgotten period, highlighting how the understanding of this transitional moment is instrumental in the reassessment of the late Ottoman rule of Palestine and of early British rule.
Spies in Arabia is a much awaited book on the British in the Middle East during and in the aftermath of the First World War. It avoids focusing on Lawrence alone and gives a fine and comprehensive picture of the cultural background of British agents employed in the Middle East and in Iraq in particular.