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Under Jerusalem by Andrew Lawler
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Under Jerusalem

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Under Jerusalem by Andrew Lawler
Paperback $20.00
Sep 26, 2023 | ISBN 9780593311769

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    Sep 26, 2023 | ISBN 9780593311769

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    Nov 02, 2021 | ISBN 9780385546850

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  • Nov 02, 2021 | ISBN 9780593455401

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Winner of the Archeological Institute of America’s Felicia A. Holton Book Award

“In Under Jerusalem, journalist Andrew Lawler directs our contemplation away from the heavenly city, and down into the roots of history and faith. . . Mr. Lawler, unlike so many of his characters, navigates the terrain without offending the political or religious sensibilities of his subjects. . . In a city where the winner takes all, Mr. Lawler does an admirable job of striving for the diplomats’ ideal of ‘evenhandedness.’ ”
—Wall Street Journal

Under Jerusalem is a brilliant, highly innovative history of the most contested city on the planet. Andrew Lawler uses these untold stories of archeological digs near and under Jerusalem’s sacred sites to convey all the colorful and violent and contentious history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is an astounding achievement—and a compulsive read.”
 —Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and author of The Outlier and The Good Spy

“Magisterial. . . [A] fast-paced adventury-story account. . . This is a spellbinding book—and a reminder that, just when one might have imagined that nothing new could be written about Jerusalem, there is still more to be found beneath its surface.”
Moment Magazine

“What lies beneath? Lawler knows. Evoking the sights, sounds, and smells of ancient and modern Jerusalem, he introduces the reader to a myriad of archaeologists and other colorful characters, all concerned with unearthing the ancient remains of the city, frequently while grappling with thorny modern political, ideological, and theological issues. A must read for anyone interested in either the history or archaeology of Jerusalem.”
Eric H. Cline, bestselling author of 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed
“Every review of Andrew Lawler’s book about the wild archaeological history of Jerusalem will mention Indiana Jones. This is not because the characters he describes are much like Jones—they’re much more obsessed, more bonkers, or more mendacious—but because the Indiana Jones stories are among the few examples we have of stories about archaeology that are pure fun. Well, now there is another one, just as swashbuckling as the Spielberg movies, but with the added advantage of being all true.”
Charles C. Mann, New York Times bestselling author of 1491 and The Wizard and the Prophet

“Lawler’s history tracks both the marvels found underground and the events unfolding above them… Probing excavators’ often partisan motivations, Lawler highlights archeology’s power to shape narratives and its development from a discipline ‘not far removed from its far older cousin, tomb robbing,’ into a modern tool of nationalist mythmaking.”
New Yorker

“A sweeping tale of archaeological exploits and their cultural and political consequences told with a historian’s penchant for detail and a journalist’s flair for narration. . . [Lawler] displays remarkable evenhandedness in cataloguing the politicization of archaeology today. . . Lawler’s timely book [shows] how and why ordinary men and women, and great empires alike, continue to seek meaning in the dirt and debris beneath this magnetic, confounding city.”
Washington Post

“Engrossing [and] exhaustively researched. . . This book may be non-fiction, but it reads like a fast-moving and suspenseful Indiana Jones thriller. . . A captivating exploration of a Jerusalem’s buried history.”
The Times of Israel

“It’s hard to imagine a definitive book being written about such a complicated subject, but this one is as close as it gets. Lawler gives a comprehensive, even-handed, clear-headed story about one of the most argued over pieces of land on the earth. But this is no dry treatise. It’s more of an adventure story with the main characters being archeologists and treasure seekers. Lovers of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark won’t be disappointed.”
New York Journal of Books

“Lawler presents a cast of char­ac­ters and a pro­gres­sion of events that build one on anoth­er, much like the archae­o­log­i­cal lay­ers them­selves, and the dis­cov­er­ies he shows us beguile and amaze. . . Lawler’s prose and the spot­light he shines on the his­to­ry of each era make his account read like an excit­ing adven­ture sto­ry. . . Archae­ol­o­gy feels like a vital, rel­e­vant, far-reach­ing endeav­or shed­ding light on today’s head­lines and tomorrow’s world. . . Fascinating.”
The Jewish Book Council

“Fascinating. . . Lawler effectively conveys how digging up Jerusalem, while continuing to provide stunning new insights, has often provided more kindling to a frequently flammable environment.”
The Jewish News of Northern California

“Impressively absorbing, admirably executed…. Under Jerusalem is an engrossing, eye-opening read that should appeal to history buffs, armchair archaeologists, and anyone interested in the complex web of religion and culture that’s shaped this ancient and enigmatic city. Weeks after finishing it, I keep thinking back to it, wishing that it wasn’t over. You really can’t ask for more from a book.” Boing Boing

“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. This fascinating, evenhanded chronicle is a treasure.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This entertaining and carefully argued book shows that the archaeology of this ancient city cannot be divorced from the complex knot of its politics. Journalist Lawler is evenhanded in his treatment of the thorny issues of religion, jurisdiction, and cultural heritage in Jerusalem. . . At its heart, Under Jerusalem is a terrific story, bursting at the seams with dubiously legal digs and eccentric personalities.”

“[Lawler’s] writing is clear and engaging, whether detailing colorful characters seeking fame and fortune or recounting the history of the West Bank, and supported by research. . . This archeological exploration of Jerusalem will find a welcome audience among readers interest in or curious about the historic city.”
Library Journal

“An archaeological journey through the millennia in the Holy Land underscores the tensions between the biblical narrative and the historical record. . . A leisurely, entertaining walk through the ages with a pleasant, knowledgeable guide.”
Kirkus Reviews

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