Joshua Hammer – Biography, Books and Facts About The American Journalist

Joshua Hammer is an American journalist whose career has seen him spend many years in Berlin, Germany as a correspondent for various media outfits. In addition, he is also a published author with several books to his name. In a career that has spanned more than two decades, Hammer has worked for and contributed to Newsweek Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, and other highly regarded media outfits. His career has seen him travel to different parts of the world including the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Joshua Hammer Biography

The American Journalist was born Joshua Ives Hammer on June 12, 1957, in New York, which is also where he was brought up. Born into a Jewish family, he was raised alongside his brother, Tony who is four years younger. When Tony was growing up, he wanted to be an actor, but he would later find himself as a radical orthodox Jew and that will affect his relationship with Joshua and other members of his family.

For his education, Joshua went to Horace Mann School in Bronx, New York. From there, he moved to Princeton University from where he graduated in 1979 with a B.A in English Literature.

Raised as a son of a reporter himself, it has never been surprising that Hammer decided to take journalism and mix it with some dose of adventure. After he was through with his education, he taught in Asia where he also freelanced. He took a job with Newsweek as a business reporter and would grow to become the Bureau Chief of the Magazine in Nairobi in 1992. He spent many years covering big events in Africa including South Africa’s first democratic election, the Rwandan genocide, and much more.

In 2003, he was nominated for the National Magazine Award for reporting thanks to his piece for Newsweek on the Second Intifada. After ending as a finalist, he would go on to win the award with his report in the life and death of a Sierra Leonean epidemiologist from Ebola in 2016.

He has been in Berlin since 2007, working as a freelance correspondent and writing books.

His Books

Apart from being a prolific journalist and freelancer, Joshua Hammer is also a writer who has a good number of books to his name including Chosen By God: A Brother’s Journey.

His other books include The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts, Yokohama Burning: The Deadly 1923 Earthquake and Fire that Helped Forge the Path to World War II, A Season in Bethlehem: Unholy War in a Sacred Place, and The Kalinka Affair: A Father’s Hunt for His Daughter’s Killer among a number of others.

Facts About The American Journalist

Joshua Hammer
Joshua Hammer in Africa (Image Source)

1. His Brother is a Religious Fundamentalist

Joshua did not have the best of relationships with his brother after the latter decided to move to Israel where he became a religious fundamentalist after joining an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect. Tony who grew up as a troubled kid soon developed a hostility towards the secular world after joining the sect and his relationship with his family and older brother, in particular, deteriorated.

2. After 16 Years of Being Estranged, He Reconnected with his Brother

Apart from just deciding to devote himself to the study of Torah and the Talmud, Tony also agreed to an arranged marriage, to the utmost surprise and dismay of his brother. After 16 years of falling out, the journalist decided to meet his brother again and try to understand the man who is now known as Tuvia as well as his decisions including extremism and racism. This is what led to his memoir, Chosen By God: A Brother’s Journey.

3. Wife and Children

Joshua Hammer has been married once in the past. Information as regards when he got married as well as his wife’s name is not available in the public domain. Nonetheless, the couple once lived with their two sons in South Africa. Unfortunately, the union was not one to last forever as it ended in a divorce. He now lives in Berlin with his partner and son, just a mile away from his ex-wife and older sons.

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4. He is Still Learning German

More than a decade after he moved to Berlin, the journalist is still trying to find his way around the language. This is even though Germany has now become his base as he lives with his family in the Wilmersdorf neighborhood in western Berlin.

Chux Dezman
Chux Dezman
Chux has been writing and editing for several major websites and publications for over 16 years, when he is not crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s, you might catch him at home watching his favourite TV shows


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