Andrew Lawler, Journalist and Author, Reports on What Lies Beneath Jerusalem

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Andrew Lawler, Journalist and Author, Reports on What Lies Beneath Jerusalem

December 22
23:24 2021
Andrew Lawler, Journalist and Author, Reports on What Lies Beneath Jerusalem
Follows the Explorers Who Made the Holy City Today’s Contested Place

22 December, 2021 – In this holiday season, billions of people around the world are commemorating events that took place in the Holy Land. Yet the city of Jerusalem this year has been battered by riots and rockets. Why is this sacred place so violent? Journalist and author Andrew Lawler explores how the City of Peace became the heart of today’s Middle East conflict in his new book, Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World’s Most Contested City 

Lawler’s three years of reporting and research led him deep underground, beneath the cobbled streets and ancient shrines of Jerusalem, where he watched archaeologists make new discoveries and learned how their predecessors shaped the competition to control the city above. The result is a sweeping history of the hidden world below the Holy City, and a saga of biblical treasures, intrepid explorers, and political upheaval.

From the first explorer, a French military officer who dug up an ancient tomb in the 1860s, the excavations beneath Jerusalem have sparked controversy. These explorers were eager to find the long-lost Ark of the Covenant, remains of the Jewish temples, and the tombs of King David and his son, King Solomon. They also helped inspire early Jewish Zionists, who in turn pushed for the creation of the state of Israel. Control of Jerusalem’s subterranean world remains a key piece of the current conflict between Jews and Arabs. 

The book has received widespread praise. “Richly detailed, sensitively argued, and entertainingly written, this immersive history casts Jerusalem in a new light and reveals the tensions that meet at the intersection of science, politics, religion, and history,” writes Publishers Weekly, which gave it a rare starred review. The Washington Post praised it as a story “told with a historian’s penchant for detail and a journalist’s flair for narration.” Moment Magazine declared it “magisterial” and “spellbinding.” 

In the weeks since the book’s release, Lawler has also published:

a Politico story about how the opening of an underground tunnel in the heart of Jerusalem that dashed hopes for Middle East peace 

a story in Time Magazine explaining why the Israeli government forbids Jews from praying on the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary, Judaism’s holiest site

a Daily Beast feature on the Jerusalem rabbi who played Indiana Jones, but whose efforts to find the Ark of the Covenant nearly sparked a war

a Smithsonian article detailing the efforts by what he calls the world’s “most bizarre excavation team” to find the treasures of Solomon more than a century ago. Their efforts helped reshaped the modern Middle East. 

By shining a light on such a broad range of topics, Lawler’s unique combination of history, mystery, adventure, and intrigue continues to delight readers around the world.

About Andrew Lawler 

Andrew Lawler is author of Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World’s Most Contested City, The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke, and Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?: The Epic Saga of the Bird that Powers Civilization. He has also contributed to a host of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian, National Geographic. He is a contributing writer for both Science and Archaeology.



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