In this compact guide, the erudite and highly readable Francis Russell describes fifty-two places in Jordan, following an itinerary that allows the independent sightseer to see as many major monuments in their proper contexts as is practical in a limited time.
Best known for the astonishing Petra, carved out of rock by the Nabateans, the territory has seen many former rulers. From the Romans whose desert forts long protected the urban civilization represented so splendidly at Jerash to their Byzantine successors whose mosaics at Madaba and elsewhere still testify to their brilliance, from the Umayyads of Damascus, builders of remarkable desert palaces, to the Crusaders who controlled their Oultre Jourdaine from Karak and Montreal, many of the major sites of Jordan have been spared intrusive development and it is still possible for a visitor to see through the eyes of early travelers like T.E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell.
Russell's easy and elegant ability to share with the reader his knowledge of Jordan's history, geography and culture makes the book, like his earlier ones on Italy, Turkey and Syria 'a labour of love, a passionate commitment to mood, to the chance remnants of history, architecture and craft. It returns to us the animating purpose of travel: to arrive, to look, to contemplate and to learn' (Country Life).