Books: To Jerusalem and Back and Forth

PILGERMANN by Russell Hoban; Summit; 240 pages; $13.95

During a pogrom in the dark heart of medieval Europe, a young Jewish man is castrated for having seduced the local tax collector's wife. Through his agony, he hears a voice telling him to go to Jerusalem. It is a popular idea. Half the world seems headed in the same direction, whipped by Pope Urban II into the frenzy that will later be called the First Crusade. The maimed pilgrim boards a ship at Genoa and then finds his progress stalled. He is captured by pirates and put...

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