Anna’s House tells the story of a young Norwegian girl whose family emigrated to America mid-19th century. Through willpower and iron determination she overcame personal tragedy, leaving America to establish a unique religious community in Jerusalem, the American Colony. Over the decades, members of the colony witnessed at first hand the shaping of today’s Middle East. Anna’s House is a gripping tale of personal struggles in a politically turbulent corner of the world.
'Masterful…It is a great accomplishment to keep a constant high level of suspense without affecting the historical correctness. The reader gets the feeling of learning yet is entertained. This is history at its best. '- Verdens Gang, Norway's Leading Newspaper
'This is history at its best. Gripping story told with love and knowledge.'- Dagbladet, Norways foremost cultural newspaper
Anna's House book signing in Beirut
A book signing was held for author Odd Karsten Tveit in Beirut on Tuesday, 27 September 2011. Over 80 guests attended the event,...read more.
JERUSALEM'S AMERICAN Colony Hotel, the former local headquarters for Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair, for many years a favorite watering hole for foreign journalists, spies and peace negotiators and an ongoing neutral venue for cultural, interfaith and political meetings between Muslims...
THE JORDAN TIMES - Memories of the American Colony
July 28, 2011
The American Colony, now East Jerusalem's most luxurious and expensive hotel, has a long, conflicted history that illuminates what has happened in Palestine over the past 130 years. Whenever I go to Jerusalem, I pay a call on the Colony, pause to scan the courtyard where customers sip coffee or...
THE ROYAL NORWEGIAN EMBASSY, Tel Aviv - Anna’s House by Norwegian Author Odd Karsten Tveit
July 11, 2011
Anna's House, a book about the American Colony Hotel through the eyes of its founder Anna Spafford, has recently been published into English.
Anna's House tells the story of a young Norwegian girl whose family emigrated to America mid-19th century. Through...
Here is a psychological and historical account of the life of Norwegian born Anna Spafford who became the leader of a group of millennialists in late 19th, early 20th centuries Jerusalem. After sighting her gravestone marked simply "Mother," as she was known to her devotees, author Odd Karsten Tveit, in true investigative style, unearthed what follows in this book. Anna's House chronicles the life of Anna and her communal household amidst the massive political upheavals that took place in the Middle East at that time. The translation by Peter Scott-Hansen is noteworthy.
Towmarj March 13, 2012
Anna's House was an enlightening exposure to the difficulties of life and culture for immigrants in United States during the 1800's and the subsequent Middle East problems of the Arab and Jewish relationships. I found the book to a most interesting read, especially the early part of the book and most certainly the latter in detailing the conflicts in the establishment of the state of Israel.
Although I am familiar with the Middle East issues, I was unaware of who Anna Spafford was and the exact nature of Anna's House. The author has developed an eloquent work on the life of Ms. Spafford and her religious cult at the American Colony in Jerusalem.
A most worthwhile read for anyone interested in the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel as well as intrigue of religious cults in foreign lands.
- Amazon Reader Review by Towmarj
Robow November 25, 2011
ANNA'S HOUSE is a must read for students of the Middle East and for those intrigued by the psychology of religious cults. This book is an excellent companion piece to Jane Fletcher Geniesse's AMERICAN PRIESTESS, since both books detail the life of Anna Spofford who with her husband gathered a group of believers in the immanent second coming, traveld to Jerusalem, and there founded the American Colony. While both books tell the compelling story of a charismatic and infuriating woman, ANNA'S HOUSE provides further insights into the complexities of Arab/Israeli relations, from the origins of the Zionist movement in the 19th Century to the establishment of the state of Israel. Anna's daughter Bertha deplored the creation of the new state which was accompanied by the violence that has since prevailed, but was rebuffed in her efforts to share her knowledge and experience with President Truman and with officials of the United Nations.
For some readers, the political analyses may be of less interest than the biography, but the author has deftly combined his two major themes, something not easy to achieve. He and his translator have taken a large slice of history and turned it into a compelling page turner.
-Amazon Reader Review by Robow
A Reader Friendly History
Barbara S. November 14, 2011
Anna's House is a captivating account of the history of the American Colony in Jerusalem and it's founder Anna Spafford. The characters and the times come alive in this extremely well researched and well written biography. Fascinating from both a historical and psychological perspective, this is a timely review of the forces that influenced the structuring of the Middle East.
- Amazon Reader Review by Barbara S. (USA)
Anna's House - very rewarding reading
Muriel Weckstein August 18, 2011
I enthusiastically recommend this very well written book on The American Colony in Jerusalem. I knew nothing about Anna Spafford or the American Colony before reading "Anna's House". I learned about the tragic personal life of Anna Spafford and her motivation in forming the American Colony, a cult. She possessed remarkable leadership ability. Her motivation and her authoritarian charismatic leadership style led both to the success and the failure of the Colony. She never doubted that God was on her side, personally advising her. The book lends insight into how cult's operate and what makes them attractive to followers.
The second part of the book is an eye opening account of the background of the Balfour Declaration and the duplicity of British Government policy in relation to the Arabs in the area. The seeds of the Arab Israel conflict were planted many years ago but aggravated by British Policy after WWl. We live today with the consequences of that policy.
Most importantly Anna's House is a very good read.
- Amazon Reader Review by Muriel Weckstein, USA.
Very interesting reading, excellent translation
Charles E. Breed July 30, 2011
I read Anna's House from beginning to end over a period of several days. I previously knew nothing about Anna Spofford, who became the spiritually charismatic leader of the American Colony in Jerusalem during the end of the 19th century. The author was very skillful at weaving the individual stories of the Spofford group and their charitable work with the political and religious leaders of the time into a fascinating history - very informative and quite relevant to our understanding of the Middle East today. The author's sensitive descriptions of the time and place through the individual people involved and their interrelationships on every level makes enjoyable, indeed consistently compelling, reading. My interest was completely engaged throughout the whole book. SPB
- Amazon Reader Review by Charles E. Breed "Chazzbo" (Carefree, AZ, USA).